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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has appointed Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Simon Priddis as its director of mergers.
Priddis practised EU competition law in Cleary's Brussels office before moving to the Washington DC office last year. He worked on US merger cases before the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. He will take up the position in March and once there will report to director of competition Margaret Bloom, replacing the current director Andrew White, who is retiring. The appointment comes as the Government's Enterprise Bill seeks to move UK merger control in the direction of US policy. Under the proposed reforms, mergers will be considered on the basis of whether they will result in a substantial lessening of competition, rather than under the current test of whether they will have an adverse affect on public interest. Priddis said: "It's a great time to be going to the Office of Fair Trading with Enterprise Bill reforms pending." The regulator is set to get much more autonomy from the Government through the merger process. Priddis will be involved with both individual merger decisions and in formulating the UK's position on EU merger cases.