Regulator set to approve Asda acquisition

The Competition and Markets Authority is likely to approve the Issa brothers' acquisition of Asda supermarkets, subject to the Blackburn entrepreneurs satisfying some remaining concerns.

The purchase of the UK's third-largest supermarket chain is nearing completion, with the Financial Conduct Authority already approving the £6.8bn sale.

The deal will see Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who founded the EG Group, partner with TDR Capital to purchase Asda. Once the deal is complete, Asda's fuel forecourts will then be sold to the EG Group.

But first, the CMA is seeking assurances that fuel prices will remain competitive in 36 areas where the acquisition will weaken levels of competition.

Joel Bamford of the CMA said: "We’re concerned the merger could lead to higher prices for motorists in certain parts of the UK. However, if the companies can provide a clear-cut solution to address our concerns, we won’t carry out an in-depth phase 2 investigation."

Reports suggest that EG Group would offload its forecourts in the areas of concern, and a spokesman for the Issa brothers and TDR Capital said they expected to reach an agreement soon.

A statement read: "We will be working constructively with the CMA over the course of the next 10 days in order to arrive at a satisfactory outcome for all parties within Phase 1. This would provide welcome certainty for our colleagues, suppliers and customers, and allow us to move forward with our exciting plans for investment and growth at Asda."

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