Following the first Public Interest Intervention Notice issued under the new jurisdictional thresholds, which came into force on 11 June 2018 (see our further article on the thresholds here), the Secretary of State and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have announced their decisions to clear the proposed acquisition of Northern Aerospace Limited by Gardner Aerospace Holdings Limited. The transaction has been cleared unconditionally on the basis that there are no national security or competition grounds for referring the merger for a Phase 2 investigation.
The CMA's Initial Enforcement Order (IEO), which prevented the parties from completing the transaction as originally planned on 22 June 2018, has therefore also fallen away. While the CMA will often issue an IEO requiring parties to hold their businesses separate post-completion in order to prevent integration while the CMA investigates, it is rare that an IEO issued in respect of an anticipated acquisition prevents the parties from completing the transaction. It now appears more likely that IEOs will be used to prevent completion of anticipated acquisitions where public interest considerations may be concerned.