Although the $186 million deal would give PHH only 35% of the UK fuel card market, it leaves the US-owned giant in almost total control of the multi-brand fuel card market - restricting fleet operators' choice to the PHH network or one of the major oil companies' cards.
A PHH spokeswoman denied the company had a virtual monopoly in the multi-brand sector and said corporate purchasing and charge cards were taking an increasing share of the fleet purchasing market. GE Capital is one of a number of key players who are poised to make a challenge. A GE spokesman said: 'We are considering our position in relation to submissions to the Office of Fair Trading about this acquisition.'
An OFT spokesman said the closing date for representations was December 9 and unless the period for consideration was extended, a decision would be announced by the DTI on or before December 23.