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CMA casts doubts over Experian's ClearScore acquisition

By Oliver Haill

Date: Wednesday 28 Nov 2018

CMA casts doubts over Experian's ClearScore acquisition

(Sharecast News) - Experian's agreed takeover of start-up credit scoring rival Clearscore could be blocked by UK competition authorities.
An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority has found that the deal is "likely to result in less intense competition" and potentially harming digital developments in the personal finance market.

Experian and ClearScore are the two largest credit checking firms in the UK, with the FTSE 100 company the incumbent proposing to acquire its three-year old rival, which has quickly risen to become market leader in free consumer credit checking tools.

The CMA said that as competition between the pair is helping to "drive quality and innovation" in both free and paid-for credit checking services, the provisional finding of the investigation is that the acquisition "would substantially reduce the pressure to continue to develop innovative offers and to make other improvements in services".

Industry views are being sought on these provisional findings, with a deadline of 19 December 2018 before a final decision is made before the CMA's final report no later than 11 March.

Experian put out a response on Wednesday morning to express its disappointment in the findings.

"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."

The company pledged to "engage constructively" with the CMA over the weeks ahead to seek to address its concerns.

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