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Is MFG gearing up to buy MRH in shock deal?

The UK's second-largest forecourt operator MFG is considering a bid for the number-one group MRH, according to a report by Sky News. If a deal went ahead the combined group would have 930 UK sites, although competition regulators might wish to investigate whether the deal would cause any local issues.

Both forecourt groups are owned by private equity companies. Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CDR) took over MFG in mid 2015 in a deal valued at £500m, while MRH was acquired by Texan firm Lone Star in January 2016.

Lone Star has been working with advisers at Citi, JP Morgan and Numis about a potential stock market listing for MRH this year, but is now considering a sale, according to Sky News.

It also suggested that MFG could face competition from Euro Garages should MRH not press ahead with its stock market listing.

Euro Garages is the third largest indie in the UK with around 360 sites, but its parent company, Intervias, bought 1,176 Esso sites in Italy in June, and 1,000 German Esso sites last month.