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CMA opens probe into Nationwide and Virgin Money merger

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  • 31/05/2024
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CMA opens probe into Nationwide and Virgin Money merger
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into the possible acquisition of Virgin Money by Nationwide.

The CMA will consider whether the merger between Nationwide and Virgin Money will result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in the UK market for goods and services. 

The regulator is calling for comments on the transaction from interested parties until 14 June. 

The CMA will decide on 26 July whether to refer the Nationwide-Virgin Money merger to a second phase of investigation. 

Nationwide announced it agreed a £2.9bn takeover of Virgin Money in March, which, combined, would make them the second-largest provider of savings and mortgages. 

This would result in a group with assets worth around £336.3bn and lending of approximately £283.5bn. 

Nationwide said that, if the acquisition went ahead, it would be committed to remaining a building society and Virgin Money would undergo a rebrand within two years. 

 

Better value for Nationwide members? 

Following the announcement of the intention to merge, a petition was launched calling on Nationwide to give its members the opportunity to vote on the decision. 

The mutual has not yet given members the chance to vote, but last week, Debbie Crosbie, chief executive of Nationwide, issued a statement saying the deal would provide more value to members. 

She said: “In March 2024, we confirmed our offer to buy Virgin Money. I believe this deal offers an exciting opportunity to create a more diverse business that delivers even more value to our members and will strengthen Nationwide financially. We continue to make good progress on our plans and expect to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2024, subject to regulatory approval.” 

Kevin Parry, chair of Nationwide, added: “The acquisition of Virgin Money will bring the benefits of mutual ownership to more people in the UK and will enable us to provide further value to customers and members through its products and services.” 

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