Insight

Brexit and its implications for UK merger control

January 2017

Ben Forbes and Mat Hughes, co-authors of the book UK Merger Control: Law and Practice, published a three-part series in Competition Bulletin focusing on the voluntary nature of UK merger control, the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) workload post-Brexit, and steps to manage the likely increase in that workload.

At a glance

  • Post-Brexit, the CMA will have sole responsibility to assess mergers that affect UK markets.
  • This change raises the question of whether the UK system should be made mandatory, as it is in most countries.
  • But mandatory regimes may fail to capture all anti-competitive mergers and delay mergers that are not problematic.
  • Brexit also means that the UK authorities will have sole responsibility for enforcing all competition law in the UK.
  • Removing the "share of supply" test and integrating the CMA's Phase 1 and Phase 2 review teams are often-discussed but poor options for reducing workload.
  • CMA’s proposed changes to the de minimis thresholds are sensible, but it's unclear whether this will substantially reduce workload.


Read parts one, two, and three.

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