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COVID-19: What is the CMA's current approach to UK merger assessment?

29 April 2020. Published by Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate

The CMA has been adapting its working practices to react to the ongoing challenges of a change in working environment that has an impact on almost all businesses.

On 18 March, the CMA published a statement about its working practices in light of Covid-19 developments. It confirmed that its staff were working remotely and that meetings and hearings were being conducted remotely either via videoconference or by telephone. At the time, the CMA also made clear that much of its work (i.e. its mergers work in particular) was subject to binding, statutory timetables, and that it intended "to continue progressing its cases, making decisions and meeting deadlines".

Over the last month, the CMA has focused its statements and guidance on reassuring businesses as to its approach to co-operation between competitors which is necessary during the pandemic to ensure security of supplies of essential goods and services and to warn against businesses seeking to profiteer from the crisis.

However, the CMA is also aware that pressures arising from the crisis "could have a material impact on its merger control work" and has now issued guidance on its approach to merger assessment during the pandemic.

Click below to read our commentary on the guidance.