CMA to take extra time to consider IHS Markit acquisition by S&P

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will take additional time to consider the undertaking offered by S&P Global Inc and IHS Markit Ltd.

The regulator has until 30 December 2021 to decide whether to accept the undertakings. The CMA considers that this period should be extended under section 73A(4) of the Act, because it will not be possible to reach a decision on acceptance of the undertakings by 30 December 2021. The reason for this is that the undertakings involve the divestment of businesses to an upfront buyer.

Accordingly, the CMA considers that there are special reasons for the extension. The CMA also considers that this extension does not materially increase the risk of an anti-competitive outcome from the merger and that there is a sufficient likelihood that it will be able to accept the undertakings before the end of the extended period.

The extension ends on 25 February 2022.

In October, the CMA said that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered by S&P Global Inc. and IHS Markit Ltd., or a modified version of them, might be accepted by the CMA under the Enterprise Act 2002.

The regulator stated it would clear S&P’s merger with IHS Markit if competition concerns in certain commodity price assessments were addressed.

S&P Global Inc is a worldwide supplier of credit ratings, commodity price assessments, analytics, financial indices, and market data. Its products are mainly used in the capital and commodity sectors. IHS Markit is a leading provider of information, analytics and solutions to business, finance and government clients.

In a highly detailed Phase 1 investigation, the CMA investigated a range of concerns across the broad range of complex financial markets in which the merging businesses are active. This investigation ultimately uncovered only limited competition concerns, for the most part because the merging businesses’ activities were found to be complementary in nature or, where both are active, their combined presence was found to be relatively small.

The CMA did, however, find that the merger could lead to competition concerns in a limited number of markets in which the merging businesses’ combined presence is more significant: the supply of price assessments of biofuels, coal, oil, and petrochemicals in the UK. Within each of these markets, the CMA found that S&P and IHS Markit have a significant combined presence, compete closely with one another and would face only limited competition after the merger.

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