The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today decided to release the undertakings affecting FirstGroup’s bus business across southern and central Scotland. CMA panel members found that the undertakings are no longer appropriate due to a change in circumstances. Frontier Economics advised FirstGroup throughout the CMA’s investigation.
The undertakings were given following the Monopolies and Mergers Commission’s (MMC) conclusion that the completed acquisition by FirstBus plc (now FirstGroup) of SB Holdings Limited (SBH), which took place in 1996, created a merger situation which may be expected to operate against the public interest. The undertakings specifically apply to services operated by FirstGroup across the ‘First Edinburgh’ and ‘First Glasgow’ areas, where FirstGroup operates approximately 255 tendered and commercial routes.
Independent CMA panel members carrying out the review found that the main competitors of FirstGroup were undeterred by the size of FirstGroup from expanding in or entering an area. Given this finding, the CMA concluded that the undertakings were no longer needed to address the MMC’s concerns.
Frontier regularly advices clients on mergers, transport and competition issues.
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