Morrisons’ takeover of McColl’s closer to being cleared amid shop sale plan

Split image. Left image: A sign for Morrisons. Right image: A sign for McColl's.
Morrisons bought out McColl's earlier this year. Credit: PA

The competition watchdog has accepted proposals from Morrisons to hand over control of 28 McColl's stores it purchased earlier this year after concerns were raised about the impact the takeover could have on market competitiveness.

Morrisons bought out the convenience store chain in May for a reported £190 million, saving thousands of jobs that would have otherwise been lost.

But following the completion of the deal, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation - the first part of which found that the deal would not harm the vast majority of shoppers or other businesses.

However, it did raise competition concerns in 35 areas, of which both Morrisons and McColl's accepted and agreed to discuss potential remedies with the CMA.

Morrisons has since offered to divest 28 McColl’s stores to a purchaser or purchasers to be approved by CMA.

Of these stores, 26 are located in England - including Swindon, Lincoln and Brentwood - and one each in Scotland and Wales.

The CMA said it accepted the offer from the supermarket giant even though the amount of stores Morrisons has proposed to sell is lower than the number of areas where concerns were identified.

It said this was because "the sale of some stores would address the concerns in multiple areas".

Sorcha O’Carroll, CMA Senior Director of Mergers, said: "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."

Sales of the 28 McColl's stores are now being consulted on by the CMA, which has said deals will be confirmed once it's received acceptable proposals.

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