CMA unconditionally approves merger of Education Software Solutions’ (ESS) with ParentPay

Matthew Bennett

On July 12, 2021, the CMA unconditionally approved the merger of Education Software Solutions (ESS), previously acquired by Montagu, with ParentPay. Both ESS and ParentPay provide a range of education software to schools in the UK and abroad: ESS supplies management information systems (MIS), known as SIMS, and parental engagement software amongst others; ParentPay mainly supplies payments systems and parental engagements software. The CMA investigated: (i) horizontal unilateral effects, looking at whether the merger could lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the supply of parental engagement software; and (ii) conglomerate effects, looking at whether the merged entity could use ParentPay’s payments software to foreclose MIS software providers that compete with SIMS, or use SIMS to foreclose payments systems providers that compete with ParentPay. Ultimately, the CMA found that the evidence does not point to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition as a result of either horizontal unilateral or conglomerate effects.

A CRA team consisting of Matthew Bennett, Vicki Mertzanidou, Muath Masri, Marissa Li, Saul Mendelsohn and Caspar Mueller advised Montagu through the transaction.

Further details are available on the CMA case page.