The UK OFT for the first time uses its ’fast track’ merger referral procedure (Thomas Cook and Midlands)

On 2 March 2011, the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) made a 'fast-track' reference to the Competition Commission (CC) of the travel agency joint venture proposed by Thomas Cook, Co-operative Group, and Midlands Co-operative Society. This is the first time the OFT has used this procedure since it first was introduced in the OFT's revised Jurisdictional and Procedural Guidance in 2009. In the right circumstances, this procedure can save merging parties time and money when seeking UK merger clearance for deals that raise prima facie competition concerns. Nevertheless, the right circumstances are likely to be few and far between. UK merger control In the UK, the OFT is the antitrust regulatory body responsible for first reviewing mergers for competition concerns. It clears most deals, but

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