On 12 July, 2023, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a Feedback Statement summarising responses to its October 2022 Discussion Paper entitled “The potential competition impacts of Big Tech entry and expansion in retail financial services.”
On 31 July 2023, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued an infringement decision finding that Leicester City Football Club and JD Sports had colluded to restrict competition in the sales of Leicester City-branded clothing, including replica kit, in the UK. Leicester City FC and its parent companies reached a settlement agreement with the CMA, under which they will pay a fine of £880,000. JD Sports had reported the infringement to the CMA, in exchange for immunity from financial penalties.
On 10 July 2023, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) dismissed an appeal by Canadian software company Dye & Durham’s (D&D) against a decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to reject a proposed “dual-track” remedy. The case arose out of the CMA’s investigation of D&D’s completed acquisition of TM Group (TMG), which resulted in the CMA requiring D&D to divest TMG to a suitable purchaser.
Making markets work for consumers is a core mission for UK agencies with competition and consumer protection responsibilities. This task assumes heightened importance in the context of current cost-of-living pressures. In this post, we discuss recent regulatory interventions that have focused on these issues.
The UK introduced a new collective proceedings regime for competition damages claims in October 2015. The early years of the new regime were characterized by cautious uncertainty as the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) and the appellate courts grappled with identifying the standards for certification. It took almost six years before the CAT certified the first claim in Merricks in August 2021. The CAT subsequently certified 10 other claims in less than two years, which in turn, encouraged additional claims to be brought.
On 25 May 2023, the High Court ordered that an individual disqualified by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) may continue as the director of Cantillon, a construction company fined £1.92 million for its involvement in a bid-rigging cartel. The High Court’s Order—which was opposed by the CMA—is the fourth time since 2019 that the Court has granted an exemption from a director disqualification undertaking obtained by the CMA.
On 4 May 2023, the CMA launched an ‘initial review’ of AI foundation models. The review follows the UK government’s request in its AI White Paper for UK regulators to consider their role in the development and deployment of AI. The review is intended to develop competition and consumer protection guidance/principles that will “best guide the development of these markets going forward.”
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified “roll-up” acquisitions (the acquisition of several targets in the same sector) by financial investors, such as private equity firms, as an enforcement priority. In this post, we discuss the CMA’s enforcement focus, its recent decisional practice, and implications for merging parties. The main takeaways are: