CMA approves £7bn Morrisons takeover

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Holdings' (CD&R) $7 billion acquisition of WM Morrison Supermarkets (Morrisons).

CD&R also owns Motor Fuel Group, the UK’s largest independent petrol station operator with 921 forecourts.

The completion of the acquisition on 21 October 2021 prompted concerns by the watchdog that the takeover would give CD&R 335 Morrison-owned petrol outlets and bring its total to over 1,200 of the UK’s 8,000 overall petrol stations.

The CMA opened an investigation in January 2022 around whether the acquisition would have a knock-on effect on petrol prices for consumers.

However, CD&R has since offered to sell 87 of its MFG-owned forecourts, tempering the CMA’s concerns and leading to their approval of the acquisition.

In its undertakings in lieu of a reference document, the CMA deemed the MFG sales “to be suitable to restore the loss of competition brought about by the deal across each of the 121 local areas in which the concerns were identified”.

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