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Brussels, 6th July 2009

Mergers: Commissio n approves joint acquisition of USP Group by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over the USP Group, a private network of medical assistance services mostly active in Spain, by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), both retail and investment banks. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Barclays is a global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. RBS is the holding company of one of the world's largest banking and financial services groups, operating through two principal subsidiaries (The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest).

USP is a provider of medical services, including hospitalisation services, medical laboratory services, diagnostics, specialised medical tests, intensive care and emergencies. USP's activities are mostly located in Spain.

The Commission's examination found that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns. Indeed, neither Barclays nor RBS are present on any market where USP is active. Thus the operation triggers no horizontal overlap. In addition, there are no vertical or conglomerate concerns.

Further information on the case will be available at:

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