EC unconditionally clears Nexi’s acquisition of Intesa San Paolo’s merchant book

On 29 June 2020 the European Commission unconditionally cleared the acquisition by Nexi, Italy’s largest specialised payment service provider, of Intesa San Paolo’s merchant book. The main horizontal overlap involved the provision of merchant acquiring services to merchants at retail level in Italy, where the parties are the two largest providers.

A CRA team led by Cristina Caffarra and including Patrick Andreoli-Versbach, Valter Sorana and Stefano Callari has provided economic advice and support to Nexi. CRA’s analysis centred around addressing the EC’s concerns on the horizontal overlap between the parties, as well as vertical concerns which emerged as a result of a complaint. Specifically, CRA provided evidence that Nexi’s (wholesale) merchant acquiring sales to banks should not be in the same market as the parties’ (retail) sales to merchants. In addition, CRA helped develop arguments, including via a bidding analysis, on the broad set of competitive constraints that the parties face. This led the EC to conclude that, post-transaction, “there would still be a sufficient number of alternative suppliers, to which customers could switch”.

The European Commission’s press release, case number M.9759, is available here.