The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued an initial enforcement order to launch an investigation into the Stars Group's £3.4bn acquisition of SkyBet.
Stars Group, owner of PokerStars, finalised the deal with previous majority shareholder CVC Capital Partners and SkyBet on July 10.
The CMA said it has reasonable grounds for suspecting the agreement of the two companies may lead to Stars Group ceasing to be distinct from Cyan Blue Topco, which ultimately controls the Sky Betting & Gaming group.
Stars, Stars UK and Cyan had been instructed to remain distinct before July 10.
The CMA concluded the order prevents both parties from taking any action that might affect the ability of either company to compete in the marketplace.
The order also requires both companies to keep their customer and suppliers list separate, and that they must avoid sharing any “business secrets, know-how, commercially-sensitive information, intellectual property or any other information of a confidential or proprietary nature relating to either of the two businesses.”
Stars, Stars UK and Cyan must now provide the CMA with information or statements of compliance so they can look into the matter further. They must also provide details of key staff that “leave or join the Sky Betting & Gaming group business or the Stars business.”