‘JD-Footasylum case shows how retail mergers have just got tougher’

JD Sports' new flagship store on Oxford Street

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week slapped JD Sports and its largest shareholder with a £300,000 fine for allegedly breaking an order from the watchdog over its acquisition of Footasylum.

That merger was blocked in May – with JD ordered to sell the business – after the CMA ruled the combination would reduce competition in the UK sports retail market, both online and in-store. 

The decision may represent a new way for the watchdog to evaluate mergers in British retail – and, if that is indeed the case, securing regulatory approval will from now on become much more complicated. 

Looking closely at the CMA’s decision, some clues point to where the biggest challenges might lie and what might be in store for retailers keen to consider a merger in the future. 

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