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Watchdog – CMA cracks down on expensive pet care with market investigation

Watchdog is a weekly column offering commentary from our editorial team on antitrust policy and enforcement across Europe.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writers only.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) yesterday (23 May) announced the launch of a full-fledged market investigation into veterinary practices, which it said may lead to remedies, including divestitures. The latter would be in addition to those required in recent merger control cases.

The CMA uses its market investigation tool about once a year (20 investigations since 2002) and the agency currently has three open market investigations. Aside from the one launched yesterday, it is also looking into mobile browsers and cloud gaming (opened in 2022) and cloud services (opened in 2023). While the other two probes focus on national markets with few players, the veterinary sector is characterised by local markets with a large number of players. Or so it used to be.

Bar chart of UK veterinary service deals from 2014-2023.

Source: Mergermarket; data correct as of 24 May.

 

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