The proposed acquisition of Alliance & Leicester by Banco Santander was approved by the European Commission (Commission) on 16 September 2008. Although Banco Santander is a Spanish financial company active in retail banking, asset management, corporate and investment banking treasury and insurance, it is already active in the UK market having acquired Abbey National in 2004. Like Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester's principal business is in retail and commercial banking and in the provision of financial services. The effect of the deal is to combine the sixth and eighth largest banks in the UK. Nevertheless, the Commission found that the Bank’s market share will be less than 15% and it will continue to face competition from other UK banks such as Barclays, HBOS and Nationwide.