In November last year, the two largest UK cashback websites wanted to join forces to provide exciting and significant money-saving opportunities for members across the globe. TopCashback, owned by Top Online Partners Group, proposed to purchase Quidco, owned by Maple Syrup Group, and merge to create CB Group Holdings, a global publisher group within the cashback industry.

The deal was voluntarily submitted to the Competition Markets Authority (CMA), which has now raised concerns over its outcome.

The CMA carried out an initial phase one investigation and found competition concerns, believing the merger may result in lower cashback rates for shoppers and higher prices for businesses using these sites.

In a statement announcing the potential merger, Olly Ragg, co-founder and director at Top Online Partners Group, who said: “Creating a bigger money-saving group with Maple Syrup Group is the next logical step in reaching even more people around the world to help them save as much money as possible.”

Similarly, Paul Nikkel, founder of the Maple Syrup Group, said “joining forces to create even more money-saving opportunities for our members while bringing our values and concepts to a global audience is an exciting step forward.”

PerformanceIN recently reached out to industry experts, who shared their views on the potential merger and its competitive concerns.

Ami Spencer, Webgains’ director of international publisher relations, said in the short term, the potential merger could enable inflation on tenancy packages for clients, although it will ultimately lead to a competitive publisher landscape.

RevLifter co-founder Simon Bird said that although mergers and acquisitions are becoming an increasing trend, not taking advantage of their market power could be a potential challenge for the new group.

What’s next?

Quidco and TopCashback have until January 14 to offer a solution to the CMA’s concerns and prove that won’t be the case, otherwise, the merger will be referred for an in-depth phase two investigation.

What are your thoughts? Continue the conversation in the comments section below.