Still considering to intervene against DNB’s acquisition of Sbanken

The Norwegian Competition Authority is still considering to intervene against DNB’s acquisition of Sbanken. The Authority is concerned that the acquisition may weaken the competition in the market for mutual funds. This may lead to higher prices and harm consumers who invest in such products.

DNB’s request to buy Sbanken has been under investigation by the Authority since mid – April. Following its preliminary assessment, the Authority notified the companies on 24 June that it would open an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition. The reason was a concern related to possible reduced competition in the market for mutual funds.

– The Authority has worked on the case throughout the summer and is still concerned that DNB’s acquisition of Sbanken may lead to weakened competition and poorer conditions for bank customers who request mutual fund savings. This is the reason that the Authority still considers to intervene against the whole acquisition, says Director Gjermund Nese.

The market for mutual funds has grown rapidly, and more and more Norwegian customers request such products. Well-functioning markets are crucial to ensure consumers a best possible offer to lowest possible price.

– DNB is already the largest provider in the market. The acquisition may lead to an increase in DNB’s strong position. Sbanken is a company with a significant market position, and has showed over time to have the ability and determination to challenge the established banks. It is the Authority’s preliminary assessment that this acquisition may harm Norwegian consumers, says Nese.

The Authority’s task in all mergers and acquisitions is to investigate whether an acquisition will reduce competition in the market and harm customers through for example higher prices and poorer services.

– The Authority has now sent a statement of objection to DNB and Sbanken informing them that we consider intervening against the acquisition. This is a substantial document, that describes the Authority’s preliminary assessment. The companies will now have the possibility to respond to the Authority’s concerns, before a final decision is made on whether the acquisition will be approved or stopped, says project manager Katrine Amdam.

The deadline for DNB and Sbanken to submit their comments to the Authority’s statement of objections is 16 September. Thereafter, the Authority has 15 working days to make its final decision.

The deadline for a final decision is 7 October 2021.

Var dette nyttig?

This is the case:

* 15 April 2021: DNB announces its wish to acquire Sbanken

*20 May 2021: The Authority receives notification of the planned acquisition.

*24 June 2021: The Authority informs DNB and Sbanken that they consider intervening against the acquisition

* 26 August 2021: In a statement of objection, the Authority informs DNB and Sbanken that they still consider intervening against DNB’s acquisition of Sbanken based on an in-depth investigation.

* 16 September: Deadline for DNB and Sbanken to submit their comments to the Authority’s statement of objection.

* 7 October 2021: The Authority’s deadline for a final decision

 

Bunke med kredittkort
Gjermund Nese, Director at the Norwegian Competition Authority.
Katrine Amdam, Norwegian Competition Authority.

Contact information:

Press phone + 47 476 67 777

Gjermund Nese
Director
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