Experian 'disappointed' as watchdog warns on deal
The UK's competition watchdog has said Experian's acquisition of Clearscore could pose a threat to competition, as it unveiled the provisional findings of a probe into the merger.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which referred the deal for an in-depth probe in July, said it could reduce competition in the credit comparison and checking markets.
It is feared that a combination of the two companies could reduce their incentives to innovate or reduce prices, leading consumers to pay more for credit cards and loans.
Dublin-headquartered Experian said in a statement that it was "disappointed" with the outcome.
"We continue to strongly believe that the acquisition of ClearScore will have a positive impact on competition, allowing Experian to help more consumers with their finances by providing greater choice and convenience to them to access personal finance products at the best prices. We also believe we will be able innovate more and better through the combination of the parties' complementary assets and innovation cultures."
The CMA has now invited comments on the findings ahead of a December 19 deadline. It must make a final decision by March 11, 2019.
Experian said it would work with the CMA and seek to address its concerns. Experian's acquisition of Clearscore was first announced in March, valuing it at £275m (€310m).