Deal may result in “a substantial lessening of competition”

Plans by Sweden’s Tobii, a provider of medical technology, to buy UK-based adaptive technology rival Smartbox for £11 million in cash have fallen foul of competition authorities and been referred to a full investigation by regulators.

It would see the Scandinavian eye tracking specialist buy Bristol and Malvern-based Smartbox – which sells devices globally through partners in 36 countries – in a debt-financed deal.

This ran into early concerns at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which on January 25 said it was concerned that Tobii’s Smartbox acquisition would result in reduced competition and higher prices.

It demanded solutions that would mitigate its concerns — and gave the two companies a week to provide them.

Late last week, it said that they had failed to assuage its concerns and it would be launching a “phase two” investigation.

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