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Competition Law

Competition Law (9th edn)

Richard Whish and David Bailey
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date: 25 April 2024

p. 93222. Mergers (3): UK lawlocked

p. 93222. Mergers (3): UK lawlocked

  • Richard WhishRichard WhishEmeritus Professor of Law at King’s College London
  •  and David BaileyDavid BaileyVisiting Professor of Law at King’s College London


This chapter provides an overview of the UK system of merger control and explains the procedure of the Competition and Markets Authority (‘the CMA’) when determining whether a merger should be referred for an in-depth ‘Phase 2’ investigation and when deciding to accept ‘undertakings in lieu’ of a reference. It describes how Phase 2 investigations are conducted and discusses the way in which the CMA applies the ‘substantially lessening competition’ (‘SLC’) test in practice. It then explains the enforcement powers in the Enterprise Act 2002, including the remedies that the CMA can impose in merger cases, and discusses various supplementary matters, such as powers of investigation and enforcement. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the merger control provisions work in practice and provides a brief account of the provisions on public interest cases, other special cases and mergers in the water industry.

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