The CMA announced today that it has passed the proposed Stonegate/Ei deal, meaning a Phase 2 investigation will not go ahead.

Last month, the authority indicated that it was satisfied with Stonegate’s proposition to dispose of 42 pubs as a solution to competition concerns, but it said it needed to consult third party views before approving the merger altogether.

After a period of inviting comments from interested parties, the CMA has confirmed its approval early, reaching a decision five days before the agreed deadline of 19 January.

Once it goes through, the acquisition will see Stonegate become the largest operator of pubs in the UK, with a total estate of around 5,000 sites.