CMA probes Nationwide-Virgin Money merger

Debbie Crosbie, Nationwide CEO

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it is investigating the anticipated acquisition by mutually-owned Nationwide Building Society of listed bank Virgin Money UK plc.

The CMA said it is considering “whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

The CMA is seeking comments on the merger before June 14 and has set a deadline of July 26 for its Phase 1 decision on whether to move to a more formal investigation.

On May 22, about 89% of Virgin Money UK shareholders voted in favour of a £2.9 billion cash takeover by Nationwide.

The shareholder vote surpassed the 75% threshold required.