Press release

CMA presses on with remedies removal

The CMA is continuing its drive to ensure that its remedies do not stay in place longer than needed.

Woman signing papers

As part of a series of such reviews, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has looked at remedies resulting from 13 merger investigations and provisionally decided to release the companies concerned from 11 of these - while keeping the obligations in place in one case. It has decided that the remedies have lapsed in the one remaining case.

These decisions - made by a group of 3 panel members, chaired by Simon Polito - result from an ongoing programme of work looking at 76 structural merger undertakings given by companies prior to 1 January 2005. This programme, set out in the CMA’s annual plan 2015 to 2016 aims to reduce burdens on business by assessing whether past merger and market remedies have become unnecessary.

As part of this, the CMA has also today confirmed its advice (to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills) to remove remedies in 7 further merger cases - as it provisionally indicated last month. Additionally, the CMA is removing remedies resulting from 2 former monopoly investigations - again following consultation. (See notes to editors).

Chair of the remedies review group, Simon Polito, said:

As these latest announcements show, we continue to evaluate and remove remedies where they have become unnecessary, eliminating the administrative burden on affected businesses and with the wider aim of allowing us to target our resources on those remedies which are still relevant.

Full details on the merger remedies review programme are available on the CMA’s webpages.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law.
  2. Last month, the CMA consulted on provisional advice to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that the remaining obligations in 7 structural merger remedies imposed under the Fair Trading Act 1973 should be removed. Following the consultation, the CMA has now formally submitted its advice to BIS, confirming its provisional view and expects the Secretary of State to reach decisions on these around the end of the month.
  3. The CMA has also, following consultation, decided to remove 2 sets of monopoly remedies, specifically the Credit Cards (Merchant Acquisition) Order 1990 and undertakings given by Metal Box plc in 1972. The Metal Box undertakings were given on 22 February 1972 and amended on 16 October 1980 and 5 June 1992. Full details on the Metal Box and credit card reviews are available on the their case pages.
  4. The CMA has a statutory duty under the Fair Trading Act 1973 and the Enterprise Act 2002 to keep under review undertakings and orders. From time to time, the CMA must consider whether, by reason of any change of circumstances: undertakings are no longer appropriate and need to be varied, superseded or released; or an order is no longer appropriate and needs to be varied or revoked. Responsibility for deciding on variation or termination of orders lies with the CMA except for a small number of older remedies where decisions are for the Secretary of State following advice from the CMA.
  5. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor (, 020 3738 6798).
  6. For more information on the CMA see our homepage or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on reviews of orders and undertakings.
Published 15 October 2015