Did Lloyds/HBOS mark the failure of an enduring economics-based system of merger regulation?
This article asks whether the merger of Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) in 2008, on public interest grounds, marked the failure of an enduring economics-based system of merger regulation. It argues that, far from marking a failure, the Lloyds/HBOS merger highlights the importance of only allowing public interest interventions on exceptional grounds in specific industries. Economics-based merger control is transparent and preferable to general public interest assessments, which are unpredictable and open to abuse. Concerns raised which support arguments for greater political interventions can be more effectively addressed in other ways.