The Competition Commission has published the timetable for their investigations into Capita’s acquisition of IBS. The target is to publish their final report by the end of April 2009.
Unfortunately, the main terms of reference for the CC investigation and report are for the CC to answer the question of whether or not the merger has resulted, or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition. Personally, I don’t think it will take long to conclude that there has been a substantial lessening.
However, as I noted in my blog post Capita/IBS – OFT’s final text - what next? I believe that there is much more to be considered by the CC – if only it was allowed to. Given the specialist nature of the R&B market and the control that central government retains over it, the CC should make a rapid decision to allow the acquisition to proceed with some levels of protection as offered by Capita in its submissions to the OFT.
I still believe that it will require a senior government decision, taken quickly, to resolve this situation – and that seems unlikely at the moment.