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UK Competition Watchdog Probes Drilling Giants Merger

 |  February 27, 2022

The UK’s competition regulator is looking into the proposed merger between two offshore drilling giants, Noble Corporation and Maersk Drilling.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed it  was investigating the anticipated acquisition of Maersk Drilling by Noble Corporation.

The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.

To assist it with this assessment, the CMA invites comments on the transaction from any interested party, with a deadline until 10 March 2022.

The deadline by when the decision whether to refer the merger for a Phase 2 investigation will be announced is set for 22 April 2022. However, the CMA noted that it cannot guarantee that the decision will be announced on or before this current deadline, as the deadline of a given case may change during the merger assessment process due to different reasons.

To remind, Denmark’s Maersk Drilling entered into a definitive agreement to combine with its U.S. rival Noble Corporation in a primarily all-stock transaction in November 2021. If approved, the merger is expected to create a combined company with a fleet of 20 floaters and 19 jack-up rigs.

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