Issa brothers' bid to buy Asda supermarket chain clears final hurdle

The UK competition regulator has accepted an offer from Asda’s new Lancashire-based owners to sell 27 petrol stations to satisfy concerns that the takeover could lead to higher prices.

In October, Blackburn-based billionaires Mohsin and Zuber Issa and private equity backer TDR Capital agreed a £6.8 billion deal to buy the supermarket chain.

However, the new owners have been unable to work directly with Asda after regulators raised concerns in April that the deal could lead to higher petrol prices for motorists in 36 locations.

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The Issa brothers offered a deal last month which would see them sell 27 of their current forecourts.

Zuber and Mohsin IssaZuber and Mohsin Issa
Zuber and Mohsin Issa

On Wednesday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it has now “officially accepted” the proposal, meaning the new owners can begin leading a new strategy at Asda.

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

The supermarket chain 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.

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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.”

EG Group, the forecourt giant owned by the brothers, operates 395 petrol stations, while Asda owns 323 sites.

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Issa brothers move closer to completing deal for supermarket chain Asda