On 7 April 2021, the CMA launched its much anticipated Digital Markets Unit (DMU) in shadow form, pending legislation. The new regulator will sit within the Competition and Markets Authority, with the potential to enforce a code of conduct and impose ‘pro-competition interventions’ in digital markets.
Euclid Law partner Sarah Long commented that the clear intention is for the DMU for have teeth. However, what remains to be seen is the role of the DMU in mergers. While it is clear that the DMU is expected to work closely with the CMA enforcement teams to scrutinise digital mergers, the extent of its involvement in either identifying and/or reviewing digital mergers, and the division of labour between the DMU and the CMA’s merger case teams remains unclear.
Long emphasised that “This will be of importance from a practical perspective as the CMA is already expecting a significant increase in its merger control caseload following the end of the Brexit transition period.”