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Posted on August 15, 2019

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its final decision and stated that the merger of Smartbox and Tobii Dynavox ‘could lead to reductions in the existing product range and quality, less new product development and higher prices’.

The CMA has also confirmed that Smartbox must be sold to a new owner, who must be approved by the CMA, to address these concerns.

What has happened

Last August we announced that Tobii would be purchasing Smartbox. Six weeks later, after some initial preparation to merge our teams, the CMA began an inquiry into the impact this would have on consumers in the UK.

Throughout the inquiry we have been working completely separately to Tobii, so there are no changes to be made to our products or how we work following this decision.

The CMA is a UK government organisation that exists to ensure people get better products at lower prices, and it helps ensure the most user-focussed and innovative businesses are the ones that succeed.

What happens next

The next steps are to begin finding a suitable owner for Smartbox. The CMA puts guidelines in place to ensure the owner is the best possible fit for the Smartbox business.

Kip Meek, Chair of the independent inquiry group carrying out the investigation, said:

“Our investigation concluded that the loss in competition brought about by this deal could therefore have very serious effects – less choice, less product development and higher prices. Having carefully considered all options, we decided that only selling the entire Smartbox business would effectively address the concerns we found.”

Whilst we are disappointed to not work with the great team at Tobii, we are very excited to continue our mission to create innovative technology, that is delivered with our passion for service that goes above and beyond.

Global Grid community

Supporting Grid users around the world remains our number one priority and we are grateful for the unwavering support the AAC community has shown us. It has been a very busy time and we are looking forward to seeing everyone at events in the UK, US and Europe over the next few months, or you can speak to us anytime at hello@thinksmartbox.com or in our Smartbox Facebook Community!

We will keep you up to date but please refer to the CMA website for the very latest information as it is published:
https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/tobii-ab-smartbox-assistive-technology-limited-and-sensory-software-international-ltd-merger-inquiry

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