Approval expected for Morrisons’ takeover of McColl’s

The acquisition by Bradford-headquartered Morrisons of convenience store chain McColl’s has moved closer to securing consent from the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed it is “minded to accept” the proposals.

Morrisons’ proposed take over of McColl’s has been scrutinised over fears the deal could harm competition after the supermarket chain revealed it was buying McColl’s out of administration and saving all jobs.

McColl’s runs more than 1,100 convenience shops across England, Scotland, and Wales. Morrisons has about 500 grocery stores in the UK.

Outlining the results of its investigation, the CMA stated the deal would “not harm the vast majority of shoppers or other businesses”. However, it did highlight competition concerns in 35 locations.

The offloading of the 28 McColl’s stores was put forward as part of engagement with the CMA in an effort to allay those competition fears.

The body said these proposals “appear to be suitable to restore the loss of competition brought about by the deal across each of the 35 local areas”.

The number of McColl’s stores Morrisons proposed selling is lower than the number of areas in which concerns were flagged up the CMA said. But it adds the sale of some stores would still address the concerns in multiple areas.

The CMA is currently consulting on the suggested sale of the stores which need to be offloaded.

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