The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s investigation into Mitie’s purchase of Interserve’s FM division was “inevitable”, according to those in the industry.
FM consultant John Bowen, told Facilitate that the regulator’s announcement of an inquiry into the merger last week was bound to happen but he says he wishes “that there could be a more streamlined system”.
Bowen said: “There is no merit in dragging these things out and unless there is clear evidence that there is any significant detriment, the merger should be allowed to proceed. There is far more risk of disadvantage in a period of uncertainty.
"I understand the need for due process in these matters, but there should be a clear time limit because the longer these inquiries drag on the more they cost and only the lawyers make any money from them. Employees, clients and investors are all left in limbo while the wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly on."
Bowen said that mergers like this are "part of a natural commercial evolution and they encourage smaller and more unable competition to emerge and challenge in the market. It is the way the world works and I think that it should be allowed to take its course unhindered”.
Mark Whittaker, FM consultant & a non-executive director at the Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management agreed that he was “not reading too much into the fact that the merger between Mitie and Interserve is on the radar of the CMA”.
“Mitie have stated that 'the transaction was voluntarily referred to the CMA for clearance' and I am not expecting there to be any obstacles to the deal getting the green light. This wasn’t a hostile acquisition / merger and although it reduces some level of competition, it certainly doesn’t mean Mitie are market dominant in the FM space. I expect the merger referral simply to be part of due process and [that it] will be cleared.”