Link Group has informed the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) that it has decided not to proceed with acquiring Pepper and considers the proposed deal to be withdrawn.

Last January, Australia's Link Group announced a deal to buy Pepper European Servicing (PES) from Pepper Group for a consideration of up to €200m.

The deal includes Pepper Ireland, which had about €18 billion of assets under management at the end of 2019.

Pepper Ireland services over 60,000 residential mortgage accounts, as well as about 10,000 commercial loan accounts. 80% of the residential mortgages it services are performing loans.

It is believed that Covid-19 and the restrictions it has caused was one of the factors behind Link's decision.

The CCPC undertook an extensive, two phase examination to determine whether or not the transaction would likely result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market for goods or services in the State.

It said that following its analysis of the likely impact of the proposed transaction, the CCPC identified preliminary competition concerns and communicated those to the parties.

The CCPC said it had been engaging with the parties in discussion of these competition concerns and said it was during this process that the parties announced that they were withdrawing from the proposed acquisition.