The competition watchdog began an in-depth phase 2 investigation into the deal between the two credit checking firms in July, after concerns that the merger could have a negative impact on services provided to customers.
The CMA said that the merger would substantially reduce the pressure to continue to develop innovative offers and to make other improvements in services.
Currently, competition between the two firms is helping to drive quality and innovation in both free and paid-for credit checking services as they develop their products to vie for customers.
Roland Green, the CMA inquiry chair, said: “Our investigation has shown that this is a fast-paced and evolving market, and that both Experian and ClearScore are an important part of that.
“The provisional findings in our investigation show that Experian’s proposed takeover of ClearScore is likely to weaken competition in the sector and have a negative effect on the services offered to customers.
“The CMA is now asking for views on these provisional findings by 19 December 2018 and will assess all the evidence before making a final decision. The statutory deadline for the CMA’s final report is 11 March 2019.”
However, Experian expressed its disappointment, saying that the acquisition of ClearScore will have a positive impact on competition, to help more consumers with their finances.
It stated: “We also believe we will be able innovate more and better through the combination of the parties’ complementary assets and innovation cultures. We will continue to engage constructively with the CMA over the weeks ahead to seek to address its concerns ahead of publication of the CMA’s final report early in the new year.”