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Thursday 24 May, 2007

Dept.Trade&Industry

British Sky Broadcasting/ITV

Dept Trade & Industry
24 May 2007



British Sky Broadcasting/ITV statement




Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, has today referred
British Sky Broadcasting Group's acquisition of a 17.9% stake in ITV plc to the
Competition Commission under Section 45(2) of the Enterprise Act.  In accordance
with Section 47(2) of that Act, the Competition Commission must now conduct a
detailed investigation into the effects of the transaction both on competition
and on the specified public interest consideration relating to the plurality of
persons with control of media enterprises.



Alistair Darling said 'My decision reflects consideration of the reports I have
received from both the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom and of other
representations I have received about this matter.  On the basis of the evidence
before me, a fuller investigation by the Competition Commission is justified.'



Alistair Darling issued an intervention notice in respect of this transaction on
26 February 2007 requiring the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom to submit
reports to him which they did on 27 April.



At that time, the Office of Fair Trading announced its key competition findings
that a relevant merger situation has been created; that it has resulted, or may
be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within a market
or markets in the UK; and that the competition concerns could not be remedied by
undertakings provided by the parties.



Similarly, Ofcom announced its key findings that the transaction does raise
public interest issues relating to the plurality of news provision to the UK
audience for both cross-media and television news.



Notes to editors

1. The full text of Alistair Darling's statement to Parliament on this matter is
attached to this press notice and will be made available on the DTI website
shortly.  A reference decision document is also being published today on the DTI
website.



2. Section 42(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002 provides that the Secretary of State
may intervene in mergers where he considers that it is or may be the case that a
specified public interest consideration is relevant to a consideration of the
relevant merger.   The public interest consideration specified in this case is
the one at Section 58(2C)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002. This is as follows:



'58(2C)(a)  the need, in relation to every different audience in the United
Kingdom or in a particular area or locality of the UK, for there to be a
sufficient plurality of persons with control of the media enterprises serving
that audience.



3. Following Alistair Darling's decision of 26 February to issue a public
interest intervention, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Ofcom provided
reports to him under Sections 44 and 44A of the Enterprise Act.  At the time
they provided these reports, the OFT and Ofcom also issued press releases
announcing their key findings. Copies of these may be found on the OFT and Ofcom
websites at http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2007/68-07 and 
http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2007/04/nr_20070427.



4.  The reference to the Competition Commission is being made under section 45
(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002.  The Competition Commission must now conduct a
detailed investigation into the effects of the transaction both on competition
and on the specified public interest consideration relating to media plurality
in accordance with Section 47 of the Enterprise Act and, under Section 50 of the
Act, report to the Secretary of State.  Under Section 51 of the Enterprise Act,
they have 24 weeks from the date of the reference to report although this
deadline may be extended by 8 weeks if there are special reasons why this is
necessary.  The Secretary of State must then take decisions in accordance with
Section 54 of the Act on whether to make an adverse public interest finding and,
if so, to take appropriate enforcement action in accordance with Section 55 of
the Act.




                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange