Competition watchdog to appeal against tribunal over JD Sports’ Footasylum deal

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
·1-min read

The competition watchdog has said it intends to appeal against a Competition Appeals Tribunal ruling, after it overturned the regulator’s decision to block JD Sports’ takeover of rival Footasylum.

In May, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) halted the £90 million deal, warning it could lead to higher prices for shoppers.

However, last month the tribunal reversed the block on the deal, saying the CMA failed to properly assess the likely impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in its decision.

The tribunal also found that the CMA did not fully understand the increased ability of Nike and Adidas to sell products directly to customers, which affected the decision-making.

The CMA said it has now applied for permission to appeal against the judgement.

In a statement on Tuesday, the CMA said the tribunal “supported” its analysis of evidence leading up to its move to block the acquisition amid fears it would weaken competition.

However, it admitted that the tribunal ruled that the CMA should have requested “further information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic”.

The CMA added: “It is the CMA’s belief that the Competition Appeals Tribunal misapplied the law in reaching this decision.

“The CMA determined that at the time of the final stages of its investigation – shortly after the UK had entered lockdown – the uncertainty facing retailers and suppliers meant they were not in a position to provide robust evidence on the medium to long-term impact of coronavirus from which reliable conclusions could be drawn.”

It is now up to the tribunal to decide whether it wants to grant the appeal.