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UK tribunal partially upholds regulator's Tobii/Smartbox merger block

The U.K. Competition Appeal Tribunal partially upheld a regulatory decision against Tobii AB's acquisition of tech company Smartbox Assistive Technology Ltd. and its related entity Sensory Software International Ltd.

The Competition and Markets Authority, or CMA, found in August 2019 that the merger may substantially lessen competition in the market for assistive technology software. The regulator further ordered Tobii to sell Smartbox.

Tobii had urged the tribunal to reverse the CMA's decision as it was not supported by reliable and sufficient evidence, among other reasons.

The appeal tribunal largely rejected Tobii's appeal. The tribunal, however, agreed with Tobii that the CMA did not provide sufficient evidence that the merger would increase the wholesale price and limit the hardware compatibility of its communication software Grid.

The CMA welcomed the tribunal's decision.

Eye-tracking company Tobii, through its unit Tobii Dynavox LLC, agreed in August 2018 to acquire Smartbox for £11 million in cash.