The statutory period for this phase of the investigation is 40 working days; however, prior to launching its investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has received a request from BT and EE for a fast track reference to phase 2. It is possible to accelerate the referral of merger cases to phase 2 when requested by the merging parties and the CMA has sufficient evidence that the test for reference is met.
Under the fast track reference procedure, the CMA’s phase 1 investigation timetable is significantly shortened.
The CMA’s fast track procedure was used most recently by the Office of Fair Trading (the CMA’s predecessor) in its assessment of Thomas Cook/Co-op (2011) and Global Radio/GMG Radio (2012).
The CMA has today also issued a shortened invitation to comment on its BT/EE case page and would be keen to hear from any interested party on the fast track reference request.
If the CMA proceeds with a fast track procedure it would expect to issue a decision within the next 3 weeks.
All information relating to the inquiry will be available on the case page.