Asda £6.8bn takeover gets final regulator clearance

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will not refer the £6.8 billion takeover of Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda for an in-depth investigation after accepting an offer by Asda’s new owners to sell 27 petrol stations to satisfy concerns it could lead to higher fuel prices.

Blackburn-based billionaires the Issa brothers and TDR Capital completed the acquisition of a majority ownership stake in Asda from Walmart Inc. in February.

Walmart retains an equity investment in Asda, with an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on the board.

In a separate deal in February, EG Group — also owned by the Issa brothers and TDR — agreed to buy Asda’s 323 petrol stations for £750 million.

EG Group operates about 400 petrol station sites in the UK.

On Wednesday, the CMA said it has now “officially accepted” the proposal to sell the petrol stations.

The new Asda owners must now select a buyer, or buyers, to purchase the forecourt sites, which must be approved by the CMA.

Asda said the CMA update will enable its management team to start working with TDR and the Issa brothers over their new plans for the business.

Asda chief executive and president Roger Burnley said: “We welcome today’s announcement from the CMA, which means we can now fully embark on the next stage of our journey under new ownership and work with Mohsin, Zuber and TDR to build an even stronger Asda that gives our customers outstanding choice, value and service in our stores and online.”

In a joint statement, TDR and the Issa brothers said: “We welcome the CMA’s announcement today marking the end of its review process and acceptance of our proposed undertakings.

“We can now push ahead with our exciting plans for Asda and look forward to working with the Asda management team to invest in the business to drive growth, including continuing to accelerate Asda’s online offer, sourcing more food from UK farmers, and bringing enhanced convenience to customers.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.