CMA Charges PayPal with Biggest Fine So Far for Single Breach of UK Merger Rules

CMA Charges PayPal with Biggest Fine So Far for Single Breach of UK Merger Rules


By: Tobias Caspary, Valeri Bozhikov, Vanessa Chikaka

On 24 September 2019, the UK antitrust authority imposed a £250k fine on PayPal in connection with its acquisition of iZettle, a competing Swedish payment systems provider. This is the highest fine levied to date for a single violation of UK merger control rules. The fine came after the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) held that PayPal had breached an initial enforcement order (“IEO”) by contacting UK-based customers about its acquisition during the CMA's merger review. The case illustrates that despite the UK being a voluntary filing jurisdiction, merging parties may need to be careful when engaging in post-close integration while an IEO is in effect. The case further sheds light on the limits of the otherwise rather liberal approach of the CMA with respect to the extra-territorial reach of their jurisdiction.

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