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Watchdog to clear rescue of McColl's if Morrisons sells some stores

Competition watchdog to release Morrisons rescue of McColl’s if it agrees to sell some stores

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The competition watchdog will approve Morrisons’ rescue of McColl’s if it sells a number of stores over concerns the closure could push prices up.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found 35 areas where the deal could reduce competition between the supermarket chain and Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which, like the supermarket, is owned by private equity firm CD&R.

The watchdog said the merger would not impact the “vast majority” of shoppers, but could affect those in areas where the two compete.

Collapse: McColl's has more than 1,100 convenience stores nationwide, while MFG has 800 convenience stores in its forecourts

Collapse: McColl’s has more than 1,100 convenience stores nationwide, while MFG has 800 convenience stores in its forecourts

It’s likely Morrisons will move to sell off some of McColl’s sites to allay the concerns and win the deal.

CMA merger director Sorcha O’Carroll said the importance of “right competition” was magnified by the rising cost of living.

McColl’s has more than 1,100 convenience stores nationwide, while MFG has 800 convenience stores in its forecourts.

Morrisons bought McColl’s in a £190 million bailout deal in May after the convenience chain collapsed in administration.

The watchdog launched a ‘phase one’ investigation into the deal in July.

Morrisons has five days to propose a solution to the watchdog before considering launching an in-depth investigation.

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