News story

CMA confirms lubricants merger investigation

The CMA has referred Reckitt Benckiser’s anticipated acquisition of the K-Y brand for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

Supermaket aisle

In December the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it would refer the merger for a full investigation unless the parties offered acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s competition concerns around the supply of personal lubricants to grocery retailers and national retail pharmacy chains in the UK.

Reckitt Benckiser has offered undertakings intended to address the concerns identified. After careful consideration the CMA was not confident that these would resolve the concerns in a clear-cut manner (see note below). The CMA has therefore decided to refer the merger for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

A decision on the merger will be made by a group of independent panel members supported by a case team of CMA staff.

All information relating to the investigation is available on the case page.


Section 73(3) of the Enterprise Act states: “…the CMA shall, in particular, have regard to the need to achieve as comprehensive a solution as is reasonable and practicable to the substantial lessening of competition and any adverse effects resulting from it.” In the Mergers: Guidance on the CMA’s jurisdiction and procedure, paragraph 8.3 states that: “the CMA must be confident that the competition concerns identified will be resolved by means of the UILs (undertakings in lieu) offered without the need for further investigation. UILs are therefore appropriate only where the competition concerns raised by the merger and the remedies proposed to address them are clear cut, and those remedies are effective and capable of ready implementation.”

Published 7 January 2015