The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into whether S&P Global’s anticipated acquisition of data provider IHA Markit would damage market competitiveness.

With the deal originally expected to complete in H2 2021, the CMA plans to reach phase one of its decision by October 19 having invited interested parties to offer comments in June.

The deal was the largest merger of the year when it was announced last November, valued at $44bn.

Once finalised, the agreed terms would see S&P Global shareholders take a 67.8% stake in the combined company on a fully diluted basis with IHS Markit shareholders taking the remaining 32.2%.

The deal also stipulated each share of IHS Markit common stock would be exchanged for 0.2838 shares of S&P Global common stock.

Having collaborated earlier in 2020 on a range of multi-asset indices, the merger was intended to create a business with scaled data, platforming, benchmarking and ESG analytics capabilities.

In its update, the UK competitions watchdog said: “The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services.”