UK competition watchdog clears Bottomline’s purchase of Experian Payments Gateway

Maria Nikolova

The CMA has determined that payments company Bottomline’s purchase of Experian Payments Gateway does not raise competition concerns.

Less than a month after the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally cleared Bottomline’s purchase of Experian Payments Gateway, the regulator has granted its final nod of approval as to the deal. An in-depth investigation by the CMA has found that payments company Bottomline’s purchase of Experian Payments Gateway does not raise competition concerns.

The CMA has been investigating Bottomline Technology’s completed purchase of EPG business from Experian Limited.

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. That is why, as FinanceFeeds reported in October 2019, the CMA referred the deal for an in-depth 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 mostly 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 in detail 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.

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