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Experian-ClearScore merger called off

The merger between ClearScore and Experian has been called off after the companies’ decision to abandon the transaction.

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The move also means the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into the deal has been cancelled.


In its interim findings released in November, the CMA set out concerns that the merger of what it described as “two of the largest credit-score checking firms in the UK” could result in less intense competition in the sector.


It added that the merger could stifle product development, by “substantially reducing the pressure to continue to develop innovative offers” and to make other improvements in services.


Experian always disagreed with the CMA’s findings throughout the investigation.


Experian offers both free and paid-for credit checking services, while ClearScore, which entered the market in 2015, quickly became prominent in the market for free credit checking tools for customers. Both companies also provide people using these services with comparisons of third-party lenders such as credit card providers and banks.


In a message sent to customers, ClearScore chief executive Justin Basini said he was “disappointed that we won’t get to combine with a major UK corporation to create a global winner”.


“Whatever happens, our vision remains clear. We want to help everyone, no matter what their circumstances, achieve greater financial wellbeing,” he said, adding the company plans to expand abroad, starting with South Africa and India.


Experian said in a statement that it "does not believe that the CMA will approve the proposed acquisition of Clearscore on satisfactory terms, despite the dynamism and competitive nature of the market, and the customer benefits arising from the proposed transaction".


It added: “Experian and Clearscore’s shareholders have therefore taken the decision to abandon the proposed transaction.”

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