Decision Nº M/04/047 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2004-09-10

PartiesM&S Financial Services,HSBC
Submitted Date11 August 2004
Date10 September 2004
Decision Date10 September 2004
StatusPreliminary investigation (Phase 1)
CourtCompetition and Consumer Protection Commission (Ireland)
Decision NumberM/04/047
Determination of the Competition Authority
Determination No. M/04/047 of the Competition Authority, dated September 10
2004, under Section 21 of the Competition Act, 2002
Notification No. M/04/047 – Proposed acquisition by HSBC plc of Marks and
Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Limited Introduction
1. On 11 August, 2004, the Competition Authority, in accordance with Section 18
(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (“the Act”) was notified, on a mandatory basis,
of a proposal whereby HSBC plc (“HSBC”) would acquire 100% of Marks and
Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Limited (“M&S FS”).
The Parties
2. HSBC provides a wide range of financial and banking services and products
and has operations worldwide.
3. Marks and Spencer (“M&S”) is a UK-based retailer of clothing, food and home
products. It provides financial services through its in-house financial services
business, M&S FS. The only activity carried out in the State by the latter is to
offer a “store card” to M&S customers, which permits them to purchase goods in
M&S stores.
4. The store cards offered by M&S FS have similar features to credit cards
insomuch as they allow for the purchase of goods before payment is made.
However, a store card can only be used with one retailer. For the purposes of this
determination, it is not necessary to form a view as to whether store cards and
credit cards are in the same market, since HSBC does not offer either credit or
store cards within the State. Therefore there is no overlap and the transaction
does not give rise to competition concerns.

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