How market studies are conducted: OFT519

Informs stakeholders – businesses and their advisers, consumer groups, and other interested parties on how the CMA conducts market studies.



This guidance was originally published by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and has been adopted by the CMA Board. The original text has been retained unamended, therefore it does not reflect or take account of developments in case law, legislation or practice since its original publication.

Please also note:

  • all references to issues of jurisdiction or procedure in mergers cases or to market studies or investigations must be read in the light of Mergers: Guidance on the CMA’s jurisdiction and procedure (CMA2) and Market studies and market investigations: Supplemental guidance on the CMA’s approach (CMA3); in the case of conflict, CMA2 or CMA3 prevail
  • references to the OFT or Competition Commission (CC) (except where referring to specific past OFT or CC practice or case law) should be read as referring to the CMA
  • references to ‘referral to the CC’ or ‘a reference to the CC’ should be read as the referral of a case by the CMA (or Secretary of State) either for a Phase 2 investigation involving an Inquiry Group of CMA panel members or for a market investigation by a market reference group of CMA panel members
  • references to articles of the EC Treaty should be read as referring to the equivalent articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
  • certain OFT or CC departments, teams or individual roles may not be replicated in the CMA, or may have been renamed; the CMA’s structure is set out in our organisation chart
  • do not use any contact details quoted; please go to the home page for details on how to contact the CMA

The following table details particular changes, although please note that this is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of changes:

Exisiting guidance reference Supplemental guidance reference
Paragraph 4.4 Should be read (with the exception of the pre-launch stage) in conjunction with paragraphs 2.6 to 2.10 which explain the requirement to publish a market study notice and the applicable timescales for the market study stage
Paragraph 4.8 Should be read in conjunction with paragraph 2.6 which explains the requirement to publish a market study notice. From 1 April 2014 market studies are launched within the meaning of paragraph 4.8 by publication of a market study notice
Paragraph 4.10 (footnote 12) The last two sentences of footnote 12 are superseded by paragraphs 2.11 to 2.16 which explain the investigatory powers available to the CMA and when they are available in relation to market studies
Paragraphs 4.21 and 4.22 Should be read in conjunction with paragraph 2.9 which explains the requirement on the CMA to publish a market study report within the statutory timeframe
Paragraph 5.13 The last two sentences of this paragraph are superseded by paragraphs 2.9 and 2.10 which sets out the statutory timescales and consultation process that apply when the CMA proposes to make a reference