UK watchdog launches investigation into Morrisons takeover

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into the $7 billion takeover of Morrisons.

Earlier this month it was announced that US private Equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) had bought the retailer.

The supermarket chain, which is the UK’s fourth largest, was sold to CD&R for 287p a share after a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group, owned by Softbank, put in a bid of 286p a share.

The UK competition watchdog said that it has reasonable grounds to suspect that arrangements are in progress which could result in CD&R and Morrisons “ceasing to be distinct.”

It is understood that the CMA is concerned about possible competition issues regarding CD&R’s ownership of Motor Fuel Group, which operates more than 900 petrol forecourts, as Morrisons also has a string of these sites.

Under the initial order, the authority has said that CD&R and Morrisons must keep their businesses separate.

Morrisons declined to comment on the probe.

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