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UK competition watchdog gives tentative approval to Mastercard VocaLink deal
January 18, 2017 / 7:24 AM / 7 months ago

UK competition watchdog gives tentative approval to Mastercard VocaLink deal

FILE PHOTO: MasterCard credit cards are seen in this illustrative photograph taken in London December 8, 2010.Jonathan Bainbridge/Illustration/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's competition watchdog said on Wednesday that Mastercard has proposed a series of measures that should alleviate its concerns about the credit card giant's takeover of payments processing company VocaLink.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said earlier this month that it was worried the deal could lead to the combined group having too much control over Britain's LINK network of Automatic Telling Machines (ATMs), which connects 70,000 cash machines across the country.

Mastercard and VocaLink are two of the three biggest providers of infrastructure services to the LINK network, meaning the 701 million pounds merger could reduce LINK's negotiating power.

CMA said on Wednesday that Mastercard had now set out a number of proposals, including VocaLink making its connectivity infrastructure available to a new supplier of infrastructure services to LINK, which it has accepted in principle.

Mastercard said it was pleased with the decision.

The CMA says it has until March 15 to consider whether to formally accept the proposed undertakings, although it may extend this deadline by two months if it decides that there are special reasons for doing so.

The other proposed remedies include VocaLink transferring or licensing to LINK the intellectual property rights relating to the system used by members of the network use to communicate when customers use cash machines and VocaLink contributing to LINK members' switching costs.

The LINK network allows customers of banks and building societies connected to LINK to withdraw cash from any of the network's machines.

Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Susan Fenton and Rachel Armstrong

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