Sale of Experian business cleared by CMA

An in-depth investigation by the CMA has found that payments company Bottomline’s purchase of Experian Payments Gateway (EPG) from Experian Limited does not raise competition concerns.

Bottomline and EPG provide payments software used by businesses to submit direct debits, make payroll payments and pay suppliers. This software allows customers of both companies to make payments via the Bacs and Faster Payments Direct Corporate Access systems.

After completing its initial Phase 1 investigation, the CMA was concerned that the merger may reduce competition, leading to increased prices, reduced product availability, or reduced investment in innovation. As such, the deal was referred to an in-depth Phase 2 probe.

Following this further analysis, carried out by an independent group of panel members, the CMA announced in February that it had provisionally found the deal would not negatively impact competition.

This is largely because EPG was no longer a strong force in the market and that, following the deal, there remains enough alternative companies competing with Bottomline for customers. The CMA also looked at the possibility that, under alternative ownership, EPG would have become a more active competitor than it was before the merger, but determined that this was not the case.

Having consulted on this provisional finding, the CMA has now confirmed clearance of the deal.