Business News Legal Live Business

UK competition regulator investigating AEG Facilities and SMG merger

By | Published on Friday 12 April 2019


The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority has confirmed it is investigating the proposed merger of mega venue operators AEG Facilities and SMG, which was announced in February.

The British regulator said it was now investigating the transaction “following the European Commission’s decision to partially refer the case to the United Kingdom” under rules contained in the EC Merger Regulation.

Venues is the side of the business where AEG out-performs its global live music rival Live Nation. Meanwhile, SMG is another major player in venue management, mainly in the US, though some European markets too. Its UK operations include arenas in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Hull.

So, while the two merging companies dubbed the deal to combine SMG with AEG’s venues division a “major step for our industry”, many rivals immediately raised competition law concerns. To that end, it is thought that competition regulators in the US are also looking into the deal.

Meanwhile, the UK’s CMA said yesterday that it is “considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.

The regulator has now instigated what it calls a ‘phase one investigation’ and interested parties are invited to make submissions about AEG and SMG’s deal by 29 Apr.