The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now conduct the inquiry phase of its investigation into the £271 million sale of Interserve’s facilities management business to rival Mitie after the invitation to comment was closed.
The CMA intends to investigate whether the sale would mean a reduction of competition within the market.
In a commencement note, the CMA said the inquiry would "commence on the first working day after the date of this notice, ie, on 30 September 2020”, and that the deadline for the CMA “to announce its decision whether to refer the merger for a phase 2 investigation is therefore 24 November 2020”.
In a previous statement, the CMA said it was considering whether “it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.
In June, Mitie signed the conditional sale and purchase agreement to buy Interserve Facilities Management. In July, Mitie appointed an integration director to oversee the merger. In August Facilitate reported that the move was “bold” and “sensible” but warned that it would reduce competition. In September 2020 CMA launched investigations into the merger and sent out an invitation for other interested bodies to comment. The deadline for this was 30th September.