HomeInsightsMerger rules: UK Competition and Markets Authority publishes consultation


The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has published a consultation on proposed changes to the rules of procedure for merger, market and special reference groups. It follows an earlier consultation on amendments to the phase 2 merger process which closed on 8 January 2024.

The consultation seeks the views of interested parties on proposals to, among other things, amend the current rules to “streamline the starting point for the phase 2 merger investigation” by abolishing the requirement for an issues statement. Instead, the CMA proposes to use a phase 1 decision as the starting point for identifying key issues that the phase 2 inquiry will consider.

The consultation also seeks to amend the rules to provide for the CMA to publish an interim report at an earlier stage than provisional findings are currently ordinarily published. The interim report will set out the Inquiry Group’s provisional assessment on whether a relevant merger situation has been created and, if so, whether it has resulted (or may be expected to result) in a substantial lessening of competition. It will also detail the evidence upon which the CMA has based its position.

Finally, the consultation addresses proposed changes to the current rules to encourage earlier without prejudice discussions between the CMA and merger parties.

The consultation closes on 11 April 2024, and more details can be found here.