McColl’s takeover: Morrisons agrees to divest stores following CMA probe

REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it has received undertaking from the supermarket chain Morrisons to divest convenience stores to go ahead with the takeover of McColl’s Retail Group.

The watchdog has earlier this month flagged competition concerns in 35 local areas following its initial investigation into the deal.

The CMA added that there are “reasonable grounds” to accept the undertakings offered by Morrisons or a modified version of them.

Following its Phase 1 investigation, the CMA has found that the merger could raise competition concerns in 35 areas, where McColl’s or MFG convenience stores will face reduced competition if the deal is allowed to go ahead as planned.

Private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), which owns Morrison, is also parent company of the Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which owns over 800 convenience stores, the vast majority of which are attached to its petrol stations. McColl’s operates convenience newsagent shops, with over 1,100 stores across England, Scotland, and Wales.

The CMA previously investigated CD&R’s purchase of Morrisons and approved the deal subject to the divestment of 87 MFG petrol stations to address competition concerns.