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UK Antitrust Regulator Forces JD Sports To Sell Footasylum

 |  November 4, 2021

Britain’s largest sportswear retailer JD Sports must sell Footasylum, a UK watchdog said on Thursday after a second investigation found the combination could leave consumers worse off even after considering stiff online competition amid the pandemic, reported Reuters.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) started investigating JD’s 86 million pound ($116.72 million) purchase of Footasylm in 2019 and ordered it to unwind the merger in May last year. JD successfully appealed that decision, with the regulator considering the impact of COVID-19 on shopping habits as it reassessed its findings.

However, the CMA said that the evidence it has analysed showed that the two companies are adapting well to market conditions and they would still thrive should the merger not go ahead.

Related: UK Watchdog Still Sees Competition Concerns Over JD Sports Merger

“The pandemic may have altered the way we shop but innovative businesses, driven by healthy competition, will rise to the challenge and successfully cater to changing tastes and habits,” CMA Chair of the inquiry group Kip Meek said in a statement on Thursday.

JD Sports, which sells brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma in its physical and online stores, has argued the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased competition, as global brands expand their direct-to-consumer businesses.

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