How Scottish & Newcastle Became the U.K.'s Largest Brewer: A Case of Regulatory Capture?

Firms engage in a multitude of interactions with the external environment, most critically with government and its regulatory agencies. Despite an extensive literature on “regulatory capture,” little attention has been paid to the interactions between merging firms and competition authorities. Yet the possibility of capture exists where there is a recurring series of merger investigations of one firm by the same authority. This analysis of the impact of political influence on the merger history of the brewing firm Scottish & Newcastle extends into a discussion of regulatory capture in the oversight of British brewery mergers during the 1980s and 1990s.