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UK Publishes Updated Merger Guidelines

 |  March 18, 2021

Following a public consultation, the CMA has published updated guidelines about its approach to analysing mergers.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) previous merger assessment guidelines were published in 2010 and, since then, markets have evolved and changed at a rapid pace, often making the act of assessing mergers more complex.

This requires the CMA to consider carefully its approach to the assessment of mergers to ensure that it is delivering on its duty to promote competition across the UK. The updated Merger Assessment Guidelines, published following a period of public consultation, will help to ensure that the CMA continues to protect people through its merger enforcement work. It will also help companies and their advisers to assess whether competition concerns might be raised by the CMA before they enter into a deal or purchase.

The guidelines are built on recommendations made by the Furman’s Unlocking digital competition: Report from the Digital Competition Expert Panel and Lear’s Ex-post Assessment of Merger Control Decisions in Digital Markets reports, in 2019, on how the CMA should approach its assessment of digital mergers. This includes an increased focus on the potential for future competition and considering innovation, and other non-price related effects, when assessing whether there is likely to be a substantial lessening of competition.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive Officer of the Competition and Markets Authority, said “Digital technologies have changed, and will continue to change, the way goods and services are sold, delivered and used by customers. What’s more, they have a strong impact on the way that businesses compete. The CMA needs to be prepared for these challenges to be able to take effective decisions for the benefit of consumers.”

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