In March 2021, it was announced that CVC Capital and Six Nations Rugby had come to deal on a 14.3% stake in the Six Nations, for which it reportedly paid a huge £365 million. However, in the wake of this proposed agreement, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) saw fit to begin an investigation into whether or not the merger would provoke a decrease in competition within the market.
When major deals occur in any sector, it is natural and routine for the CMA to look into any potential changes to competition which may be caused, so the fact that a CMA investigation was triggered does not necessarily confirm that a breach of competition law has occurred, or that any action will be taken against the organisation under investigation. Such was the case for the CVC Capital deal, which was cleared by the CMA in July.
Nevertheless, it is worth considering why the CMA made the decision to investigate and how it came to its decision, as cases like this can give a valuable insight into how the competition regulator operates in the UK. It is also useful to look at cases like this from the perspective of competition law in sport.
“A lack of competition in SSCP’s recent acquisition?” – CMA are investigating whether SSCP has acted anti-competitively in Acorn acquisition
In September this year, the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) served an Initial Enforcement Order (IEO) on Stirling Group and SSCP Spring Topco for an allegation that they acted anti-competitively in their recent acquisition.
Earlier this year, Acorn Care 1 Ltd was acquired by SSCP Spring. Acorn is a reputable care service provider who offers special needs education, residential and foster care, for children and young adults with complex needs.
But the acquisition may be in breach of the rules!