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Deal insight: overcoming competition hurdles in rail franchise awards

31 January 2017  •  Author(s): Jeremy Robinson (Partner) and Vineet Budhiraja (Associate) at international law firm Watson Farley & Williams

Deal insight: overcoming competition hurdles in rail franchise awards

The UK’s Railways Act contains an obscure passage with deal-critical implications. If you enter a rail franchise agreement, you may need to first overcome competition law hurdles, the most immediate being: do you need clearance under merger control rules before you can proceed? This question stems from section 66(3) of the Railways Act 1993: by entering into a rail franchise agreement, a franchisee acquires control of a business1 , which could amount to a “relevant merger situation” in UK law, or a “concentration” in EU law. Which rules you follow (at least for as long as the UK remains in the EU) depends on the turnover of the bidder and the target franchise2 . If you are bidding for a rail franchise, how do you address this issue when responding to an Invitation To Tender (ITT)? Jeremy Robinson (Partner) and Vineet Budhiraja (Associate) at international law firm Watson Farley & Williams explore.

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