Brit competition bods to probe Experian and ClearScore merger

£275m credit-check borg must wait for watchdog approval

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Experian's bid to slurp up fellow credit-check biz ClearScore is to be assessed by the UK's competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed its intention to launch an in-depth merger investigation today, saying Experian had failed to address concerns identified in an initial probe.

Experian announced plans to acquire ClearScore for £275m earlier this year in a bid to expand its UK business and access ClearScore's 6 million British members.

However, the pair are the two largest credit-checking firms and each other's main competitors, and the CMA has concerns about the deal.

It said the merged company "would be less likely to innovate to help people better understand their finances, potentially leading to people paying more for credit cards and loans".

After announcing its initial findings, the CMA gave Experian a week – until 27 July – to respond and address these concerns, but said the firm had "chosen not to offer proposals".

As such, the watchdog has launched an in-depth investigation by an independent group made up of CMA panel members and chaired by former CMA staffer Roland Green.

This will assess the deal and what effect it might have on the UK market, with a final decision due by 14 January 2019. ®

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