Stonegate’s planned deal to acquire rival pub firm Ei Group in a £1.27bn (€1.5bn) merger could be approved by the UK’s competition watchdog if it agrees to sell off 42 pubs.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced in December 2019 that the proposed tie-up, which will see the formation of a group with 5,000 pubs across the UK, could impact consumer choice in 51 areas across the country.

It gave the two companies until 13th December to come up with solutions to avoid moving its investigation to a second phase.

Now the CMA has announced that a sale of 42 pubs “might be acceptable as a suitable remedy” and would address the competition concerns in the 51 local areas it had identified.

The watchdog now has until 19th February to decide whether or not to accept the plan.

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