Competition watchdog to investigate retail co-ops’ funeral deal

The CMA will look at the proposed transfer of funeral assets from Midcounties to Central England

The Competition and Markets Authority is (CMA) to examine the proposed transfer of funeral homes from Midcounties Co-op to Central England Co-op.

The proposed deal – involving 50 funeral homes, two vehicle logistics sites and 252 colleagues, which make up most of Midcounties’ funeralcare business – was announced in June.

Yesterday the regulator, which has been stepping up its scrutiny of the funeralcare industry, said it would examine the deal.

The investigation comes after a period of thorough scrutiny of the funeral care sector by the CMA. In March, it issued a report calling for more pricing transparency and competition in the sector, backed by a new regulatory regime.

With regard to the Central England / Midcounties deal, the regulator said it would look into whether or not the transfer would lead to a lessening of competition in the market.

The deadline for the CMA to announce its decision whether to refer the merger for a Phase 2 investigation is 11 October 2021, it added.