UK Watchdog Drops IAG-Air Europa Probe

UK competition regulators have dropped their probe into the IAG-Air Europa merger, after the two sides terminated the tie-up in the form originally envisioned.

IAG had proposed to acquire the whole of Spanish carrier Air Europa’s share capital from parent Globalia, an agreement which was subsequently amended a number of times last year.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority had opened an inquiry in mid-November 2021, inviting comments on whether the merger would reduce competition in the UK sector.

But within a month IAG and Globalia opted to abandon the original agreement and its subsequent revisions in full, and this has prompted the UK authority to halt its investigation.

“Accordingly, on the basis of the information available to it, the [Competition and Markets Authority] does not believe that it is, or may be, the case that arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation,” it stated.

While the authority would have had to decide whether to submit the deal to a more in-depth investigation by January 19, it stated that, as a result of the situation, it “does not…have a duty” to refer the merger under UK enterprise legislation.

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