SUPERMARKET firm Morrison's was today given the green light to bid for rival Safeway.
But Bradford-based Morrison's has been told by competition watchdogs that it must also sell 53 Safeway stores.
Both companies have stores in the Huddersfield area - Morrison's at Waterloo and Safeway at Meltham.
Rival bids tabled by Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda's US owner Wal-Mart were blocked by the Competition Commission.
Morrison's is now set to go head-to- head with retail entrepreneur Philip Green in the fight to take over Safeway.
The supermarket is expected to offer about 380p a share to buy Safeway.
Mr Green, who also owns fashion retail group Arcadia, has yet to table a bid.
He escaped the competition probe because he does not already own any supermarkets.
Earlier this week, Mr Green denied press speculation that he had lost interest in making an offer.
The battle for Safeway's 479 stores began in January when Morrison's tabled a £2.9bn bid.
Morrison's, headed by Sir Ken Morrison, argued that its proposed takeover created a fourth force in UK supermarkets capable of facing up to market leader Tesco.
The decision comes just over a week after Morrison's rang up a 9% rise in sales to £2.48bn for the six months to August 9.