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The UK’s New Digital Markets Regime: Some Key Takeaways

 |  July 5, 2024


This year, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is set to gain new enforcement powers under the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Act, which received Royal Assent on May 24, 2024. However, most of the Act’s provisions will only come into force after secondary legislation is passed. The CMA initially expected its new responsibilities to be operational by Autumn, but this timeline might be delayed due to the UK’s election on July 4. On the same day the DMCC Act became law, the CMA published its new Digital Markets Competition Regime Guidance for consultation.

An outline of the key provisions of the DMCC Act is available here. As the CMA prepares to implement its powers under this new regime, here are five practical considerations for firms active in the UK:

  1. The CMA will manage the new regime through a specialist Digital Markets Unit, established over three years ago.
  2. The DMCC Act may differ from the EU’s Digital Markets Act in terms of designated companies and the obligations imposed on them.
  3. The interaction between the DMCC regime and existing regulations, particularly the GDPR, may pose practical challenges.
  4. The CMA is expected to use its digital markets regime powers alongside existing antitrust tools, which the DMCC Act amends.
  5. The CMA’s jurisdictional thresholds for reviewing mergers under the UK’s merger control regime will change due to the DMCC Act.

The DMCC Act gives the CMA powers to: (i) designate companies meeting certain thresholds in digital activities as holding ‘Strategic Market Status’ (SMS); (ii) impose specific conduct requirements on SMS firms; and (iii) introduce “pro-competition interventions” where necessary to address competition concerns in digital activities.