Tuesday 8 December 2020 3:08 pm

CMA launches probe into billionaire brothers' takeover of Asda

The UK’s competition regulator has launched its stage one probe into the billionaire Issa brothers’ takeover of supermarket Asda.

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Back in October the brothers, along with private equity group TDR Capital, agreed to buy the grocer from US giant Walmart for £6.8bn.

At the time, Walmart said that it expected the deal to be subject to an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA said it was investigating whether the deal would lead to a “substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services”.

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The billionaire Issa’s company EG Group owns and runs petrol station forecourts, many of which are in the same towns as large Asda stores with petrol stations of their own.

Regulators will want to see guarantees that the merger will not reduce competition between petrol suppliers, which could lead to higher prices for consumers.

The CMA has asked stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to submit evidence by 22 December. A verdict is expected on 18 February.

Read more: New Asda owning Issa brothers sell stake in petrol station giant EG Group

It is not the first time there has been an probe into a deal involving Asda. In 2018, a planned merger with Sainsbury’s fell through after an investigation found that the deal would leave shoppers worse off.