CD&R proposes petrol stations sale to push through £7bn Morrisons takeover

Last month, the CMA warned that the takeover of Morrisons could lead to higher fuel prices in 121 locations across the UK.

Henry Saker-Clark
Thursday 07 April 2022 14:54
Petrol station at Morrisons in Rochdale. The supermarket chain’s private equity suitor has offered to sell petrol stations to push through its takeover deal (Jon Super/PA)
Petrol station at Morrisons in Rochdale. The supermarket chain’s private equity suitor has offered to sell petrol stations to push through its takeover deal (Jon Super/PA)

The competition watchdog has said it could approve Morrisons’ takeover by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) after the US private equity firm proposed the sale of some its petrol station empire.

CD&R, which also owns petrol station giant Motor Fuel Group (MFG), won a lengthy auction to buy the Bradford-based retailer in October.

MFG operates 921 petrol stations across England, Scotland and Wales under a number of different brands, while Morrisons runs 339 petrol stations at its supermarkets.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the £7 billion takeover earlier this year and last month said it could pursue a deeper probe due to competition concerns.

The regulator warned that the takeover of Morrisons could lead to higher fuel prices in 121 locations across the UK.

It said MFG and Morrisons both have forecourts in these locations and would face “limited competition” from other players following the merger.

On Thursday, the CMA said it received a proposal last week from CD&R which would see it sell some of its petrol stations in order to push the takeover through.

“The CMA considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered by CD&R, or a modified version of them, might be accepted by the CMA under the enterprise act 2002,” the regulator said in a statement.

The watchdog did not disclose how many forecourts would be sold as part of the proposal.

Earlier this week, Morrisons warned that profits could take a hit as a result of the cost of living crisis and disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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