The UK Government recently announced a series of reforms for strengthening the UK competition regime, including measures that will increase penalties for non-compliance, speed up antitrust investigations and permit better scrutiny of certain mergers – in particular, ‘killer acquisitions’ threatening nascent competition. Aiming to produce a “best in class” competition regime, these reforms signal the most significant changes to UK competition law in 25 years. Most notably, the reforms will result in a stronger (and potentially more interventionist) CMA, albeit a regulatory watchdog more overtly subject to government influence despite its increased powers.

Background & planned reforms On 20 April 2022, the UK Government announced reforms it will seek to make to the UK competition and consumer law regimes. These measures will be part of a “draft” Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill that was referred to in the recent Queen’s Speech – though as confirmed in a subsequent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blog post, this Bill (combining separate digital market proposals) will not be introduced in the current parliamentary session (2022 to 2023). In terms of the competition regime, the Government has taken on board input received during last year’s consultation process and is now proceeding with important changes to how the CMA enforces the rules. These reforms are set out below. Merger control The Government decided

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