Of these, 4 are to be retained while parties to the remaining 6 remedies will be released. In addition, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has reached a provisional decision to retain one remedy. In one further case, it has decided that completing the review now is no longer an administrative priority, due to a new merger having been proposed involving the same parties.
These latest decisions mean that the CMA is close to completing its review of old structural merger remedies given by companies prior to 1 January 2005 – with just 2 reviews still to be completed from the original 71.
The CMA started the review in March 2015 as part of a wider programme to ensure remedies do not stay in place longer than appropriate.
Of the 69 reviews completed to date, in 51 cases (just over 70%) the CMA has either removed the remedies or found them to have lapsed, while it has decided to retain the remedies in 13 cases. In a further 5 cases it has decided not to continue with its work at this stage.
These decisions have been made by a group of 3 panel members, chaired by Simon Polito. This exercise forms part of a wider programme of reviews, set out in the CMA’s annual plan, with the aim of reducing burdens on business by assessing whether past merger and market remedies should be varied or released.
Chair of the remedies review group, Simon Polito, said:
This process has reviewed around one-third of the total number of market and merger remedies that the CMA inherited on its formation. I’m pleased that we look set to complete these reviews in under a year.
Removing remedies that are no longer appropriate not only lightens the administrative burden on affected businesses but also enables the CMA to focus its monitoring and enforcement activities on those remedies of greatest value to consumers and markets. This work is part of an ongoing process and later in 2016 the CMA plans to initiate a similar exercise reviewing behavioural merger remedies from cases before 2006 to allow it to continue to target its resources more effectively in future.
Full details on the CMA’s remedies review programme are available on the CMA webpages.
Notes for editors
- 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.
- The CMA has a statutory duty under the Fair Trading Act 1973 and the Enterprise Act 2002 to keep undertakings and orders under review. 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.
- The list of cases published on 26 March 2015 contained 76 remedies. The number of remedies reviewed was ultimately reduced to 71, after the CMA either combined overlapping cases together or uncovered facts that meant a review was unnecessary.
- The 2 remaining reviews awaiting completion are the Hanson Pioneer remedy – the provisional decision which the CMA is publishing today – and the Severn Trent/SouthWest Water merger remedy.
- Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor (email@example.com, 020 3738 6798).
- For more information on the CMA see our homepage or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.