MRH has avoided a potential inquiry into its acquisition of 78 service stations from Esso after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) accepted undertakings by the company.

In November the CMA warned the number one Top 50 Indie MRH that it could face a full scale inquiry because of concerns about competition in areas of Brighton and Cambridge where MRH had acquired Esso sites and the next nearest filling station was also owned by MRH.

The CMA said it was concerned that the merger could lead to higher petrol and diesel prices for drivers in these areas.

However, it added that MRH could avoid the deal being referred for a full investigation if it could offer an acceptable solution to address the CMA’s concerns.

MRH responded with proposals to sell either the MRH Girton or the Esso City site in Cambridge, and the Esso Patcham site in Brighton, as well as related assets for these sites, including grocery outlets.

The CMA said it had accepted the undertakings, and as a result the acquisition of the 78 Esso service stations would not be referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

MRH company secretary David Hathaway said: “We are pleased the CMA has chosen to accept the undertakings we offered, and it is now possible to resolve the issue.”