Cision/Gorkana Merger Delayed Again by Regulators

UK agency cites concerns about the "lessening of competition."

cision gorkana

The pending merger of Cision and Gorkana has been put on hold for the second time by regulators in the UK.

In October 2014 — only weeks after acquiring with its main rival VocusCision announced plans to spend more than $320M to acquire the third party in the media relations software world: UK-based Gorkana. At the time, Cision CEO Peter Granat described the move to us as “a step forward in Cision’s mission to be a global leader in PR and social software.”

As O’Dwyer’s blog noted last December, the proposed merger raised some red flags at the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which cited concerns that it could facilitate a one-party monopoly in that market.

In other words, it’s the PR software equivalent of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger — which is heating up as Comcast intensifies its lobbying efforts and blames opposition to the merger on “competitors and poor customer service.

From the UK organization’s official statement, which you can read here:

“The CMA is considering whether…the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

Now, UK regulators have delayed the merger again after determining that it warrants further investigation. The CMA has not released a statement or a timeline regarding the second round of review.

Here’s the statement from Cision:

“The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has determined that our completed acquisition of Gorkana Group may lead to potential competition concern, warranting a phase two review.

We look forward to continuing our work with the CMA to reach an outcome that ensures any questions they may have are satisfied and confirms that competition remains healthy post-acquisition. Our integration activities will remain suspended until this next phase is completed.”

Note the similarity between that statement and the one provided to O’Dwyer’s back in December, in which the second paragraph was identical.

Gorkana refrained from comment on the news.