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Competition watchdog chair 'forced out', could it mean fewer merger blocks?

Published
Jun 30, 2020
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The news earlier this month that Lord Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), would exit his role in September was driven by a major clash with the CMA’s chief executive Andrea Coscelli, a report has claimed.


Footasylum is one of the takeovers that has been scotched under the outgoing chair's watch - DR


Sky News made the claim about the body that’s responsible for deciding whether various major mergers and acquisitions can go ahead in the UK. 

Tyrie had originally been appointed to the role for a five-year term but will be leaving three years early. 

The news service said that the CEO had told the UK’s Business Secretary that Tyrie had lost the confidence of the CMA’s board and that he himself would leave if the chair wasn’t ousted.

It’s unclear exactly what the clash was about or whether his departure could mean we see a different approach from the CMA in future that may mean a more liberal merger regime, or possibly one that’s even more strict.

While the outgoing chair has been in place, the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger on which both supermarkets had pinned their hopes for the future was scotched. And JD Sports was told its purchase of smaller peer Footasylum had to be reversed. JD has since appealed that decision.

Tyrie was also in place recently when the CMA controversially gave the green light to Amazon’s purchase of a major stake in food delivery business Deliveroo. That decision attracted heavy criticism in Britain from both the press and politicians.

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