CMA gives Asda deal the green light – Issa brothers to sell off 27 petrol stations
The UK’s competition regulator the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) has accepted the offer from Asda’s prospective new owners to sell 27 petrol stations to finally push their takeover deal across the line.
In October, the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity backer TDR Capital agreed a £6.8 billion deal to buy the supermarket chain from Walmart. While that deal was completed, there was still one final stumbling block. They still needed approval from the CMA after it raised concerns in April that the takeover could lead to higher petrol prices for motorists in 36 locations.
The CMA has now confirmed that it has accepted the offer from the Issa brothers to sell 27 petrol filling stations to enable their £6.8bn Asda deal to the finish line. The CMA said it has accepted the offer to allay competition concerns – which means that the Interim Enforcement Order will be lifted, clearing the path for the final takeover to be signed off.
The new Asda owners must still select a buyer, or buyers, to purchase the forecourt sites, which must be approved by the CMA again.
In a joint statement, TDR Capital 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.”
Asda chief executive 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.”
EG Group, the forecourt giant owned by the Issa brothers, operates 395 petrol stations, while Asda owns 323 sites.