UK Merger Control: CMA Interventionism on the Rise

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The UK operates a voluntary merger control regime1 . In addition, the European Commission (EC) operates a ‘one-stop shop’ jurisdiction to review the largest and most complex cases on behalf of all EU Member States, including the UK. The combination of a voluntary UK regime and EC jurisdiction over major deals has resulted in the UK’s antitrust authority – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – having a lower profile than many other major G20 enforcement authorities. With Brexit now looming, however, the CMA is seeking to raise its global profile and to articulate more explicitly and publicly its enforcement priorities. It has recruited additional personnel (200+ new staff since the referendum)2 , sought increased government funding and started to apply its discretionary powers more broadly across a range of transactions. This briefing highlights the CMA’s willingness to intervene in global deals and the factors companies should consider when assessing the merits of voluntary notification in the UK.