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UK Antitrust Regulators Open A Preliminary Review Of The AEG Facilities/SMG Merger

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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Competition regulators in the United Kingdom announced plans to launch a preliminary inquest into the proposed merger of venue management giants AEG Facilities and SMG.

If the proposed deal completes, the two companies plan to form a new venture ASM Global, which will oversee more than 310 major venues, including arenas, stadia and performing arts centers around the world.

On April 11th, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it would conduct a “phase 1” review of the merger and attempt to ascertain if the proposed merger “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.”

A Phase 1 assessment period extends for 40 working days and involves information gathering and an invitation for input from interested third parties. The review may result in the CMA sending an “issues letter” to stakeholders and a “state of play” discussions with relevant parties, which is typically conducted via telephone.

At the end of the Phase 1 review, the CMA either issues a clearance letter which may include required modifications for the proposed merger or recommends a more substantive Phase 2 review.

The proposed merger, which was originally announced in January by private equity giant Onex, which itself acquired SMG the previous year, will see both it and AEG facilities own a 50% stake in the created joint venture ASM Global. The merger, if approved, is expected to be completed in late 2019.

So far, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States has not opened a formal review of the deal.

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