StockMarketWire.com - The UK competition regulator referred JD Sports' deal to buy Footasylum to an in-depth investigation amid concerns that the deal could result in higher prices and lessen competition, JD Sports said in a statement.

The comes as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this month said that its initial investigation found the deal could result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition.’

With JD Sports unable to offer any appropriate remedies to the deal to address the concerns of the CMA, The CMA confirmed today that the transaction would be referred to a Phase 2 investigation, the company said.

JD, however, said it firmly believed that there was clear evidence that the acquisition would not result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition in the relevant clothing and footwear retail markets where the two businesses operate.’

Still, the company said it would continue to ‘co-operate fully with the CMA in its review to firmly establish that both JD and Footasylum operate in an extremely competitive and dynamic retail market and that they will continue to face strong competition following the acquisition.’ Story provided by StockMarketWire.com