Competition & Markets Authority
Merger of payment software providers raises competition concerns
The CMA has found that payment software firm Bottomline Technologies’ purchase of Experian Payments Gateway (EPG) may reduce competition.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating whether the completed merger of Bottomline and the EPG business raises competition concerns.
Both companies provide payments software used by businesses every day to submit direct debits, run payroll and pay suppliers. This directly connects to the UK’s Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (Bacs) scheme Bacstel-IP service and Faster Payments System Direct Corporate Access (FPS DCA). Bottomline and EPG are 2 leading providers of the software, with Bottomline by far the largest and EPG a trusted supplier to some of the biggest businesses.
After completing its initial Phase 1 investigation, the CMA is concerned that the new, merged company may increase prices, reduce product availability, or reduce its investment in innovation. This is mainly because if Bottomline had not acquired EPG, there would have been a realistic chance that EPG would have been bought by a different firm, which could have resulted in a more competitive market with greater product development and more choice for customers.
Joel Bamford, Senior Director of Mergers at the CMA, said:
Payment software is critical to many businesses in the UK for managing payments including direct debits and paying their staff. Bottomline is already the largest supplier and has purchased a rival who is trusted by many large businesses with few remaining competitors left in the market.
Our investigation has shown that other options for the EPG business were available which could have resulted in more competition in the future. We are therefore concerned this transaction could lead to prices going up or less development of current software.
Bottomline has until 14 October to offer solutions to resolve the CMA’s concerns, otherwise the merger will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.
More information can be found on the Bottomline/Experian page.
Latest News from
Competition & Markets Authority
CMA alleges guitar firm illegally prevented price discounts09/10/2019 09:20:00
The CMA has provisionally found that Fender Europe broke competition law by restricting online discounting for its guitars.
Cleaning chemicals firm must sell acquired business07/10/2019 14:15:00
The CMA has decided that Ecolab must sell off Holchem to prevent potential price rises or a lower quality of service as a result of their merger.
3 drug firms accused of illegal market sharing03/10/2019 15:20:00
The CMA has provisionally found that 3 drug firms signed an illegal agreement that resulted in significant price hikes for an essential medicine.
CMA holds major consumer event in Edinburgh26/09/2019 13:20:00
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is holding a major conference in Edinburgh exploring the challenges faced by consumers and how best to tackle them.
Drug firms admit to colluding in order to keep prices up23/09/2019 09:20:00
Two suppliers of the antidepressant, nortriptyline, have admitted illegally sharing information in order to keep prices up.
Sports fashion merger raises competition concerns19/09/2019 16:15:00
The CMA has found that JD Sports’ takeover of close competitor Footasylum could be bad for shoppers.
Government responds to the proposed acquisition of Cobham plc by Advent International19/09/2019 10:12:10
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom responds to the proposed acquisition of UK defence company Cobham plc by Advent International.
Major overhaul of hotel booking sector after CMA action13/09/2019 15:25:00
People booking hotels online can now do so with more confidence following a CMA probe of the sector.