National Fostering Agency / Acorn Care 1 merger inquiry

The CMA is investigating the completed acquisition by SSCP Spring Topco Limited, providing fostering services in the UK inter alia through its affiliated entity the National Fostering Agency Limited, of Acorn Care 1 Limited.

Statutory timetable

Phase 1 date Action
20 February 2017 Decision published
30 January 2017 Decision announced
30 November 2016 Launch of merger inquiry
1 December to 15 December 2016 Invitation to comment
8 September 2016 Initial enforcement order

Phase 1

CMA to consider undertakings offered

13 February 2017: The CMA considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered by the parties, or a modified version of them, might be accepted by the CMA under the Enterprise Act 2002. A copy of the decision is available below.

Reference unless undertakings accepted

30 January 2017: The CMA has decided, on the information currently available to it, that it is or may be the case that this merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom. This merger will be referred for a phase 2 investigation unless SSCP Spring Topco Limited, the top UK holding company of the National Fostering Agency group, offers acceptable undertakings to address these competition concerns. The full text of the decision is available below.

Launch of merger inquiry

30 November 2016: The CMA announced the launch of its merger inquiry by notice to the parties.

Invitation to comment: Now closed

1 December 2016: 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.

Initial enforcement order

12 September 2016: On 8 September 2016, the CMA served an initial enforcement order under section 72 (2) of the Enterprise Act 2002 on Stirling Square Capital Partners LLP, Stirling Square Capital Partners Holdings Limited, Stirling Square Capital Partners Second Fund Holdings Limited and Stirling Square Capital Partners Third Fund Holdings Limited (collectively Stirling Group) and SSCP Spring Topco Limited (SSCP Spring) in relation to the completed acquisition of Acorn Care 1 Limited.

Amendments/consents granted

Contact

Please send written representations about any competition or public interest to:

Daniella Sinobad
Competition and Markets Authority
Victoria House
Southampton Row
London
WC1B 4AD

daniella.sinobad@cma.gsi.gov.uk

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