Competition Commission to examine Future's Highbury deal
The Office of Fair Trading has referred Future's acquisition of Highbury House to the Competition Commission amidst fears it will stifle competition in the UK magazine industry.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has decided to refer Future Publishing's acquisition of Highbury House to the Competition Commission (CC), it emerged today.
In a brief announcement this afternoon, the OFT said that the combination of the largest supplier of computer games magazines in the UK with its largest competitor may be expected to substantially lessen competition in the UK, and as such it had to refer it.
The Competition Commission is expected to report by 28th September, however the CC is also allowed to extend the 24-week period in which it is required to publish its report by up to eight weeks if there are special reasons for the delay.
The OFT's reference test for such matters considers the effect that merger situations will have on competition in any market or markets in the UK for goods or services.
If a merger situation is created or two or more enterprises have ceased to be distinct enterprises and the value of the combined turnover exceeds UKP 70 million, the OFT has a duty to refer the situation, as it has done in this case.
Future announced its plan to acquire Highbury House for around UKP 100 million earlier this year. Highbury publishes a number of games titles including Play, P2, XBM, Cube and gamesTM.
Speaking in an interview with this website at the time, Future chief executive Greg Ingham defended his company's decision to purchase Highbury at a time when the print industry faces greater challenges than ever from other forms of media.