31 May 2012

Fuel card merger cleared in UK

On 11 May 2012 the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) cleared without conditions the acquisition of the AllStar fuel card business by speciality payments company FleetCor.  The parties are active in the supply of fuel cards that provide commercial vehicle fleet operators in the UK with access to fuel as well as consolidated transaction and usage data.The OFT explored but ultimately rejected unilateral effects concerns, largely due to evidence on the differentiation in the parties’ activities and customer bases.  The OFT also considered a conglomerate effects theory of harm, whereby the merged entity might leverage AllStar’s bargaining power over third party site operators to foreclose rival fuel card suppliers’ site access.  Following detailed analysis of the ability and incentive to pursue such conduct, however, the OFT concluded that the merged entity would be unable to bring about a substantial lessening of competition via such leveraging.  RBB, working together with Eversheds, advised FleetCor throughout the OFT investigation.

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