EG Group agrees to divest 27 sites following CMA concerns on Asda takeover

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Zuber Issa, Mohsin Issa and TDR Capital, owners of EG Group, have agreed to divest 27 petrol filling stations in response to the CMA concerns on their Asda takeover.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 5 May said there are “reasonable grounds” to accept the undertakings, or a modified version of them, by the parties, indicating that its inquiry into the merger would not be referred for a phase 2 in-depth investigation.

Last month, the CMA has found that the Asda takeover by the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital could lead to higher petrol prices in some parts of the country, following its phase 1 initial investigation into the £6.8 billion deal.

The watchdog has then asked the buyers to address the competition concerns identified within 5 working days in legally binding proposals.

EG Group operates 395 petrol stations in the UK, while Asda owns 323. The CMA inquiry, launched in last December, focused on the places where the petrol stations of both firms overlap and the watchdog has found that the deal raises local competition concerns in 36 areas across the UK and the supply of a specific type of fuel – called auto-LPG – in a further area.

The CMA has a further 5 working days to consider whether to accept any offer instead of referring the case to a phase 2 investigation.

The Issa brothers and TDR Capital have completed the acquisition of Asda from Walmart in February through jointly owned company Bellis. They have earlier announced that they will sell Asda’s petrol forecourts business to EG Group for £750 million after the completion of the deal.