The CMA’s write-up of its Phase 1 decision regarding the joint venture between Forfarmers and Boparan raises several important points relevant to parties assessing merger control prospects, including :
- It cannot be assumed that the CMA will use the same travel distances for catchment areas as in previous cases that the parties think are similar
- Local share of supply thresholds can form the SLC decision rule (rather than a trigger for further analysis) – even in cases where the number of local areas for consideration is small
- The level of the share of supply thresholds used to determine SLC (in this case 35% + 5%) depends on the facts of the case – for example, whether rivals have spare capacity.
The CMA identified horizontal and vertical competition concerns.
The deal has been abandoned shortly after reference to a Phase 2 investigation.