July 20, 2018 / 7:46 AM / a month ago

Experian-ClearScore deal may hurt competition: UK regulator

(Reuters) - Experian Plc’s (EXPN.L) deal to buy fellow credit data provider ClearScore may reduce competition in the market, the UK’s competition regulator said on Friday.

Experian and ClearScore - the top two providers of free credit score checking in the UK - have until next Friday to offer solutions to resolve the concerns, Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said here

Experian, the world’s largest credit data company, told Reuters it was reviewing the CMA’s comments and would make the case as to why the deal should be approved.

The CMA is concerned that the merged company would be less likely to innovate and could potentially lead to people paying more for credit cards and loans, the regulator said.

If the CMA’s concerns are not resolved, Experian’s 275 million pound ($357.5 million) deal reached in March to buy ClearScore will be referred for an in-depth second round of investigation.

ClearScore was not immediately available for comment.

Experian, a FTSE 100 company, wants to expand its presence in the UK with the purchase of ClearScore, which has over 6 million members in the UK and provides free access to credit reports and scores and introduces consumers to personal financial products.

Shares of Dublin, Ireland-based Experian fell 0.8 percent on the London Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Amrutha Gayathri

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