The UK competition regulator said Friday that it will refer Hitachi’s planned acquisition of Thales SA’s rail-infrastructure business for a more in-depth, phase 2 investigation, after the parties declined to provide undertakings.
The Competition and Markets Authority said the parties had until Dec. 16 to offer an undertaking to remove competition concerns, but that both had declined.
On Dec. 9, the regulator warned that the deal could lessen competition and drive up fares in the U.K.
The Japanese conglomerate last summer opened discussions to buy French company Thales’s rail-signaling business for an enterprise value of 1.66 billion euros ($1.76 billion.)
The acquisition could remove a credible competitor from the tendering process for mainline signaling held by U.K. railway-infrastructure operator Network Rail, the country’s main customer for signaling, the Competition & Markets Authority said previously.