Fears over single authority merger clearances

Author: Danielle Myles | Published: 21 Oct 2010

Merger clearance decisions tainted by ‘confirmation bias’ and losing the input of competition specialists are lawyers’ main fears following the proposed introduction of a single UK competition authority.

If the government follows through on its recent announcement, the Competition Commission (CC) and competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will be merged, removing the UK’s two-tier system of merger clearance. Having one regulator would bring it in line with other jurisdictions - including the EU.

Under the UK model, the OFT passes on more difficult cases to the CC which performs its own investigations – which often overlap with those completed by the OFT.

Removing this duplication is touted to streamline and speed-up M&A timetables. But lawyers are worried it may come at...