10 Oct 22

Cloud hangs over ALD’s LeasePlan acquisition

Cloud hangs over ALD’s LeasePlan acquisition

The UK’s competition watchdog the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has opened an investigation into the proposed acquisition by ALD Automotive of LeasePlan.

The inquiry was launched last month (Sept 2022) with the CMA stating: the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, 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.

The acquisition was formally made public in January 2022 and is expected to create one of the largest leasing and mobility companies in the world. That’s if it goes ahead but then again, the CMA cloud hangs only over UK territory. It’s doubtful the CMA’s inquiry alone could prevent the merger from happening altogether.

We spoke exclusively to ALD’s CEO Tim Albertsen last month who said everything was going to plan:

“There’s a lot of positive energy in the air about ALD Automotive and LeasePlan moving closer together. But it’s also a highly complex operation, as you would expect: we’re merging 26 countries, two HQs, and two financial arms. Not to mention two very different models of governance. Also, ALD Automotive has to become a regulated banking entity with the ECB. And of course, there’s the antitrust process that we have to go through.”

“For the time being, everything is going according to plan. In fact, we’re somewhat ahead of schedule. There have been a few surprises along the road – positive ones. For one, it turns out that our two corporate cultures are a quite compatible. The differences are not that big.”

Specifically regarding the CMA inquiry, a spokesperson for ALD said: "We are working closely with the Competition and Markets Authority to progress its review of ALD’s proposed acquisition of LeasePlan, including by explaining how the transaction will benefit our customers in the United Kingdom. The CMA’s approval forms an important part of our transaction preparations and we are confident the review will result in a satisfactory outcome."

Authored by: Alison Pittaway