Two sportswear bosses are under attack for a surreptitious meeting which appears to go against The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rules, including the sharing of intellectual property.
The CMA is concerned a deal between the two companies could lead to higher prices, a squeeze on competitors like Sports Direct, worse choice and poorer service for shoppers.
‘Nothing to see here’, they say, despite the two companies being subject to a CMA order against exchanging confidential information, and despite having been initially accompanied by a senior lawyer.
While the order does not ban meetings, it says that 'no business secrets, know-how, commercially-sensitive information, intellectual property or any other information of a confidential or proprietary nature' can be shared. Exceptions are 'where strictly necessary in the ordinary course of business', including, for example, if they need to comply with accounting obligations or requests from regulators.
This reference to IP and secrets interests me and I guess it means sharing data that might benefit competitive strategies, sales figures and pricing for example.
The larger company JD Sports suffered all 1.8 per cent share price fall to £11 in morning trading on Monday.
Last week, the CMA ordered JD Sports to sell Footasylum after an investigation identified pricing concerns between the two retailers. Its inquiry concluded that JD Sports is too similar to Footasylum.
Clearly the parties do not seem to be happy with this order, but these blacked out car park meetings will not help their case as it seems just the place that confidential information, trade secrets and other intellectual property might be shared.
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