CMA to probe Morrison & McColl's trading distinction

The Competition and Markets (CMA) authority is investigating the completed merger of certain assets of McColl’s Retail Group by WM Morrison Supermarkets.

The CMA’s initial enforcement order filed on 25 May contests that it has reasonable basis to suspect that it is or may be the case that WM Morrison Supermarkets Limited has ceased to be distinct from certain assets of McColl's Retail Group.

The CMA said it is ‘seeking to determine whether it is or may be the case that a relevant merger situation has been created and whether the creation of that situation has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the UK’.

The order pertaining to Alliance, McColl’s parent company, orders McColl’s and Morrisons to clarify that the merger will not ‘impair the ability of the Alliance business or the Acquirer Group [WM Morrison] to compete independently in any of the markets affected by the transaction’.

The relevant managers of each group must respond to the CMA and confirm their compliance with the order by 8 June.

Morrisons and Alliance must also actively keep the CMA informed of any material developments relating to the Alliance business or the Acquirer Group business (WM Morrison), the order said.

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