Competition authorities to probe Link/TNS cash machine venture

Competition authorities to probe Link/TNS cash machine venture

The Competition Commission is to probe a proposed joint venture between Link Interchange Network and Transaction Network Services for the supply of outsourced ATM transaction processing services in the UK.

Link, operator of the UK cash machine network, and Transaction Network Services announced plans in November to work together to develop and market a range of ATM and card issuing services with activity planned to focus initially on the UK market from the start of 2005. The proposed joint venture would merge Link's ATM and card outsourcing division Atmos with TNS' Welwyn Garden City processing operation.

At the time, Steve Smith, director of relationship management at Link said the partnership would enable each company to compete more effectively in the increasingly aggressive global transaction management market.

In referring the proposals to the Competition Commission, the Office of Fair Trading has signalled concerns that the proposed joint venture could stifle competition in the cash machine transaction processing market.

Sir John Vickers, OFT Chairman, comments: "The proposed joint venture would bring together the two principal suppliers of outsourced ATM transaction processing services. This might substantially lessen competition."

The Competition Commission is expected to report on its finding by 13 July 2005.

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