Probe avoided

Morrisons’ closer to McColl’s deal with sale plan

McColl’s fell into administration in May.

Morrisons has avoided a full probe into its £190m rescue deal for convenience store chain McColl’s after the Competition and Markets Authority said it was minded to accept its plan to sell 28 units.

The supermarket group hopes the watchdog’s response should allow the deal to complete.

Morrisons agreed to buy McColl’s after the 1,160-store convenience chain collapsed into administration in May. The CMA subsequently began looking into the tie-up on 13 July.

In September, the CMA identified 35 sites where the combination could lead to a significant reduction in competition.

While this is higher than the number of proposed disposals, the CMA said Morrisons’ offer would address its concerns.

The vast majority of the stores to be sold are in England (26). One is in Scotland (Perth) and one is in Wales.

“Our preliminary view is that the sale of these stores will preserve competition in these local areas and prevent consumers from losing out due to this deal, at a time when shoppers are already facing rising prices,” said CMA senior director of mergers Sorcha O’Carroll.

“If, after reviewing the responses to our consultation, we conclude that the competition issues have been addressed, the deal will be cleared.”

“We are pleased that the CMA proposes to accept our offer to sell 28 McColl’s stores to address competition concerns and we look forward to a swift conclusion of this process,” said a Morrisons spokesman.

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