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Cover Competition Law

22. Mergers (3): UK  

This chapter discusses UK law on the control of mergers. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 provides an overview of the domestic system of merger control. Section 3 explains the procedure of the Competition and Markets Authority (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. Section 4 describes how Phase 2 investigations are conducted and Section 5 discusses the ‘substantially lessening competition’ (‘SLC’) test. Section 6 explains the enforcement powers in the Enterprise Act 2002, including the remedies that the CMA can impose in merger cases. The subsequent sections discuss 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 a brief account of the provisions on public interest cases, other special cases and mergers in the water industry. The withdrawal by the UK from the EU means that many mergers that were subject to a ‘one-stop shop’ under EU law are now subject to investigation in the UK as well.