Brussels, 18 April 2011
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of certain assets of UK financial firm Egg by Barclays Bank
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of certain credit card assets and liabilities previously under the sole control of Egg and, ultimately, Citigroup, by Barclays Bank. 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 the operating company of the Barclays Group, a global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services.
The acquired businesses comprise certain credit card assets and liabilities of Egg Banking plc. Their core activity is the issuance and operation of credit cards in the UK under the Egg Card and Egg Money brands.
The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that, as the target is only active in the UK, the activities of Barclays and the target overlap only in relation to the issuing of universal, personal credit cards in the UK and the combined market shares remain moderate. In addition, a significant number of credible competitors, capable of imposing a competitive constraint on the merged entity, remain in the markets affected by the merger.
As a result, the Commission concluded that the transaction does not raise competition concerns.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission, in 1989, was given the power to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Art 1 of the Merger Regulation). The Commission clears the vast majority of mergers without conditions and only accepts remedies or prohibits mergers when the notified transaction would lead to a significant impediment to competition and make consumers worse off.
From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 14 March 2011. Further information on the case will be available at: