Fully understanding the prospects for a UK merger control investigation – whether as an investor, a merging firm, or a merging firm’s rival – depends on how well you interpret the CMA’s stance towards mergers and over what period.
I find that the best-prepared look at the CMA’s track record in merger assessments over both the short- and the longer-term, in order to help evaluate what has changed and what is changing.
And they also recognise that developments in the UK can differ from the more global narratives that tend to dominate a lot of merger control commentary.
This is especially important for investors and companies from outside the UK.
With all that in mind, here’s a quick synopsis of key UK themes from my series of posts looking back at 2022 and putting it in the context of what came before:
- UK merger investigation numbers were near historic low levels
- Hardly any investigations involved competition problems in small markets – a big change from the CMA’s early years
- The number of Phase 1 clearances fell for the fourth successive calendar year
- Phase 1 interventions outnumbered clearances for the first time
- Remedy interventions made a big comeback – at Phase 1 and at Phase 2
- More deals survived Phase 2 than ended there – the first time this has happened since 2017.
Which of these themes is most relevant to your merger in 2023?