CMA clears merger between comparison websites Moneysupermarket and Decision Technologies in Phase I

The UK competition authority (CMA) has published its decision to unconditionally clear Moneysupermarket’s (MSM) acquisition of Decision Technologies (DTL).  Both sites provide digital comparison tool (DCT) comparison services to consumers in the UK, bringing together consumers and products.

The horizontal overlap concerned two segments: home communications (broadband, fixed line and TV) and mobile.  Additionally the CMA raised two vertical input foreclosure concerns.  First, DTL also provides white label and application programming interface services i.e. detailed comparison information that other digital comparison tools can use to set up a website.  Second, MSM’s blog MoneySavingExpert (MSE) provides links to DCTs with offers and post-merger MSE may favour the merged entity when advertising these offers to consumers.

CRA supported MSM showing that while the merging parties are two of the larger DCTs, there is considerable competitive pressure from other DCTs (in particular from uSwitch with over half a DCT market) and other online sales channels.  Regarding the vertical input foreclosure concerns, CRA argued that while the CMA considered DTL faces insufficient competition at the upstream level, using an input foreclosure strategy would have wider commercial ramifications including for example DTL being less able to obtain good commission payments.  Finally, MSE is independent of MSM and has not favoured MSM in its articles in the past.

CRA’s team advising Moneysupermarket during the CMA’s proceedings consisted of Alan Overd and Gerhard Dijkstra.

For more details, please see the CMA’s decision.