Trade Organisations

CMA launches Central England Co-op acquisition inquiry

Announced earlier this year, the deal would see 50 Midcounties Co-op funeral homes transfer to operate under CEC control

The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has launched an inquiry into Central England Co-operative’s (CEC) proposed acquisition of part of the funerals business of The Midcounties Co-operative.

Announced earlier this year, the deal would see 50 Midcounties funeral homes transfer to operate under CEC control.

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Extending CEC’s services in the Midlands, the Southwest, and Southeast of England, the acquisition would also include two vehicle logistics sites, as well as Midcounties’ pre-paid funeral plan arm.

However, CEC recognised at the time that gaining the CMA’s approval for the deal is expected to take “several weeks”, during which time the two groups will continue to act as normal.

The watchdog revealed that it is considering whether the transaction will create a “relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002”.

If this is the case, then the CMA will investigate if the situation would result in a “substantial lessening of competition” within the market.

Opened on 16 August 2021, an invitation to comment will last until 31 August 2021, with the deadline for the CMA to decide whether to pass the inquiry to phase two set for 11 October 2021. 

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