Office of Fair Trading looking into broker acquisition

The Office of Fair Trading is inviting comments on the anticipated acquisition of HSBC Insurance Brokers by Marsh before deciding whether to launch an investigation.

The OFT has the power to stop a take-over taking place if it finds that the combined company results in the “lessening of competition in the market".

A OFT statement read: "The Office of Fair Trading is considering whether arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.

"Should it be found to be a relevant merger situation, the OFT will further consider whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services that warrants reference to the Competition Commission for investigation and report.

The OFT has requested written representations about "any competition or public interest issues" by 15 February 2010.