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CMA invites comments on serviced office space merger remedy

The CMA has opened a consultation on undertakings proposed by Regus to address competition concerns over its acquisition of Avanta.

Desks in an office.

On 18 November 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it would refer the acquisition for an in-depth investigation unless Regus plc (Regus) offered acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s concerns.

As a result, Regus has offered to sell the Avanta Serviced Office Group plc (Avanta) centres located in the Hammersmith, Victoria, Canary Wharf/Docklands, Euston/King’s Cross and Paddington areas of central London to a suitable purchaser (or purchasers). Regus has also offered a behavioural undertaking in relation to the Hammersmith centre, in the event that the landlord decides to terminate Avanta’s lease early and a suitable purchaser therefore cannot be found for that centre. The behavioural undertaking would limit Regus’ ability to raise prices or reduce quality at the Hammersmith centre until the lease terminates.

On 2 December 2015, the CMA announced that it would look in detail at these undertakings. The CMA has until 1 February 2016 to consider whether to accept the undertakings, or a modified version of them. As part of this process, the CMA is now consulting publicly on whether the proposals are sufficient to address the CMA’s competition concerns.

Before reaching a final decision, the CMA is therefore inviting interested parties to make their views known. The deadline for responses is 23 December 2015.

The consultation on the undertakings and all other information relating to this merger investigation can be found on the case page.

Published 8 December 2015