On 18 December 2008, the European Commission (Commission) cleared the acquisition of the UK mortgage bank Bradford & Bingley plc (B&B) by Abbey National plc (Abbey). Abbey is the UK subsidiary of the international banking group, Banco Santander SA. As a result of the deal, Abbey will acquire all B&B’s retail savings account deposits together with its agencies and other retail business assets. B&B’s remaining assets, in particular its mortgage lending activities, have been transferred to the UK Government. The Commission found that the merged entity will have less than 20% of the UK mortgage market and that Abbey would continue to face a number of competitors. Following notification by the UK authorities, the Commission confirmed (on 1 October 2008) that the sale of the retail deposit business would not raise issues under the EC State aid rules since Banco Santander was offering market price for B&B’s retail business.