CMA ‘minded to accept’ sale of 87 petrol stations to clear Morrisons takeover

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it was “minded to accept” a plan for the new owner of Morrisons to sell 87 petrol station forecourts.

US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) offered to sell the petrol stations to help secure the competition watchdog’s approval for its £7bn takeover of the UK’s fourth largest supermarket.

CD&R also owns the Motor Fuel Group (MFG), the largest independent operator of petrol stations in the UK with 921 sites, while Morrisons operates 339 petrol stations across England, Scotland and Wales.

A CMA inquiry found that the takeover could lead to a loss of competition and potentially higher petrol and diesel prices for drivers in 121 areas.

In order to address these concerns, CD&R has now offered to divest 87 of MFG’s petrol stations to a purchaser or purchasers to be approved by the CMA.

The CMA said in response that it was minded to accept the proposal, which appears to be suitable to restore the loss of competition.

It will consult on the plan before making a final ruling.