Competition – news story

CMA to look in detail at MRH undertakings offer

The CMA will consider in detail whether to accept undertakings offered by MRH instead of carrying out a phase 2 merger investigation.

In November, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that MRH’s completed acquisition of 78 service stations from Esso Petroleum Company Limited (Esso) may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the retail supply of road fuels in local areas in Cambridge and Brighton.

It added that MRH (GB) Limited (MRH) could avoid the acquisition being referred for an in-depth phase 2 merger investigation if it offered an acceptable solution to address the competition concerns in those areas.

As a result, MRH has proposed undertakings to the CMA to divest either the MRH Girton or Esso City sites in Cambridge - and the Esso Patcham Service Station in Brighton. The CMA has decided that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered by MRH, or a modified version of them, might be accepted by the CMA.

The CMA now has until 9 February 2016 to consider whether to accept the undertakings, or a modified version of them, although the CMA may decide to extend this deadline to 7 April 2016 if it considers there are special reasons for doing so.

As part of this consideration process, the CMA will undertake a public consultation on whether the proposed undertakings are sufficient to address the competition concerns. If the undertakings are not accepted, the acquisition will be referred for a phase 2 merger investigation.

For further details visit the case page.