The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering accepting a proposal from supermarket chain Morrisons’ buyer Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) to divest 87 petrol station forecourts.
In October last year, the US-based private equity firm won an auction to purchase the British supermarket chain in a deal valued at £7bn ($9.5bn).
Since January, however, the CMA has been reviewing the deal over concerns of potentially higher petrol prices in 121 local areas in England, Scotland and Wales.
CD&R owns the Motor Fuel Group (MFG), the UK’s largest independent operator of petrol stations.
MFG operates 921 sites across the UK, while Morrisons operates 339 locations in England, Scotland and Wales.
In response to these concerns, CD&R has offered to sell 87 of MFG’s petrol stations to a purchaser or purchasers to be approved by the CMA.
The CMA said that although CD&R’s offer is still lower than the number of areas highlighted, it ‘would address the concerns in multiple areas’.
The proposal to sell these stations is subject to the regulator’s approval and will proceed once cleared.
CMA mergers senior director Colin Raftery said: “The sale of these petrol stations will preserve competition and prevent motorists from losing out due to this deal, which is particularly important when prices have recently hit record highs.
“If we conclude that the competition issues have been addressed following a consultation on CD&R’s offer, the deal will be cleared.”
In March, Morrisons entered a strategic partnership with US-based delivery company Gopuff to offer rapid delivery in the UK.
As part of the collaboration, Gopuff’s mobile app is offering fresh food, own-brand and branded products from Morrisons in more than 20 cities across the UK.
Customers using the service can receive their orders in a minimum of 15-20 minutes.