In a statement published yesterday (20 January), the watchdog said it was considering whether the deal, if carried into effect, “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.
The CMA has invited comments on the transaction from any interested party until 31 January, while the deadline to announce its decision on whether to refer the merger for a phase two investigation is 16 March.
Future first revealed its intention to acquire TI Media from its private equity owner Epiris in October.
The £140m deal, which would expand Future’s portfolio to more than 220 brands, had been expected to close by spring 2020. Future has a turnover of £124.6m, while TI Media's is larger at £209.4m.
TI loaned Walstead £10m in 2016 to keep the former Polestar Bicester plant running after Polestar’s collapse. The loan runs until March 2021.
Future's share price dipped by around 1% in early trading yesterday, to 1,430p, but quickly recovered and stood at 1,444p at the time of writing.