Consortium expects to clear competition rules for multi-billion-pound Morrisons swoop

The private equity-backed consortium looking to bag Morrisons has said the UK competition watchdog has not raised any issues regarding its £6 billion-plus takeover proposal, which is due to be voted on in a couple of weeks.

Morrisons is one of the UK's 'big four' supermarket operators, along with Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's. Picture: Mikael Buck/Morrisons

The consortium, led by Majestic Wine owner Fortress, has said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) told the bidder it “has no further questions” regarding the offer.

In a statement to the stock market, it added that the CMA has “not opened an inquiry or indicated in writing that it is still investigating whether to open an inquiry”.

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The potential takeover of Morrisons – the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain – comes after the collapse of Sainsbury’s mega-merger with Asda in 2019 after competition officials blocked the deal.

Earlier this year, Asda agreed to sell a string of petrol forecourts in order to help its £6.8bn acquisition by the Issa Brothers and private equity backer TDR Capital secure approval from the regulator

The Morrisons suitor said that it does not expect any delay in proceeding with the agreed takeover, which will go to a shareholder vote next month.

Investors will have their say on the offer, which was supported by the firm’s board of directors, at a general meeting on August 16.

The retailer agreed to the takeover move days after it rebuffed an initial £5.5bn approach from rival private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

UK takeover regulators have given CD&R a deadline of August 9 to either place its own firm bid for the chain or walk away.

However, several Morrisons shareholders, including Silchester International, have criticised the agreed deal.

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