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OFT Refers Anticipated Acquisition By Future Plc Of Highbury House Plc

14 April 2005

The OFT today referred the anticipated acquisition by Future plc of Highbury House plc to the Competition Commission (CC).

The OFT has decided that the test for reference is met in relation to the supply of certain special interest consumer magazines in the UK. The reference is made on the basis of concerns that the combination of the largest supplier of computer games magazines in the UK with its largest competitor may be expected to lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the UK.

The CC is expected to report by 28 September 2005.


1. The Reference Test - The OFT has a duty to make a reference to the CC if the OFT believes that it is or may be the case that arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation; and the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.

2. Under the Enterprise Act 2002 a relevant merger situation is created if two or more enterprises have ceased to be distinct enterprises; and the value of the turnover in the United Kingdom of the enterprise being taken over exceeds £70 million; or as a result of the transaction, in relation to the supply of goods or services of

any description, a 25% share of supply in the UK (or a substantial part thereof) is created or enhanced.

3. The CC may extend the 24 week period within which it is required to publish its report by no more than eight weeks if it considers that there are special reasons why the report cannot be published within that period.

4. The text of these decisions will be placed on the Office of Fair Trading's web site at and will also appear in the Office's Weekly Gazette as soon as is reasonably practicable.

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