Competition & Markets Authority
CMA to launch in-depth investigation of Tobii / Smartbox merger
The CMA recently (08 February 2019) referred Tobii’s purchase of Smartbox for an in-depth investigation, after finding competition concerns.
Tobii and Smartbox design and supply technology to enable people with complex speech and language needs to communicate. These solutions include specialised hardware and software, such as speech generating devices.
As part of its initial, Phase 1, investigation the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found the deal could lead to less choice, higher prices and reduced innovation for customers.
The companies are the leading suppliers in this sector, and each other’s main competitors. As such, the CMA is concerned that the merged company would face little competition, which could lead to a reduced range of products being offered, higher prices and fewer new products being developed.
In January, the CMA said that it would refer the merger for a full investigationunless the parties offered acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s competition concerns. Tobii offered undertakings intended to address the CMA’s concerns. After careful consideration, the CMA was not confident that these would resolve the concerns in a clear-cut manner. The CMA has therefore decided to refer the merger for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.
A decision on the merger will be made by a group of independent panel members supported by a case team of CMA staff. More information can be found on the Tobii / Smartbox case page.
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