The UK's competition watchdog has referred Experian's proposed takeover of Clearscore for an independent investigation after the vendors failed to address concerns raised during a preliminary probe.
Experian was given a one-week deadline by the Competition & Markets Authority to respond to a number of issues raised over the proposed merger, which would unite the UK's top two providers of free credit score checking services.
The watchdog believes that a merger between the two could results in UK consumers ultimately paying more for credit cards and loans.
In a statement, the CMA says: "Experian has chosen not to offer proposals to address the CMA’s concerns and so the merger will now be referred for an in-depth investigation by an independent group of CMA panel members."
Potential remedies could include a ruling to sell off parts of the merged company's business or an ultimate sanction to quash the deal. The deadline for the final decision is 14 January 2019.