Regulator CMA deepens Morrisons takeover probe

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has formally opened an investigation into whether the £7 billion cash purchase of Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons by US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) will reduce choice for supermarket customers in the UK.

The CMA said on Thursday it has launched a merger inquiry, inviting comments from interested parties and giving a deadline of March 24 for a preliminary decision.

“The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,” said the CMA.

On October 29 last year the CMA had said: “We’ve issued an Initial Enforcement Order (IEO) for the completed acquisition of WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc by Clayton, Dubilier and Rice Holdings, LLC.

“The IEO is used to make sure the companies remain independent after completion while our work is ongoing.”

The CMA said on October 29 that Morrisons should continue to be run as an independent business for the time being with its own brand and management.

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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.