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Monopolies and Mergers Commission

This was created under the Fair Trading Act 1973 and replaced the old Monopolies Commission. It has full powers to investigate any potential monopoly situation, referred to it by the Department of Trade and Industry or the Director of Fair Trading, and report back its findings. If the business investigated appears to operate against the public interest, an order may be made terminating the existing business agreement or ordering that the organization be broken down into separate competing parts. The only acceptable manner of avoiding such investigation is in a case where the apparently monopolistic agreements have been accepted and registered under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956. The reason for the inclusion of the word merger in the Commission’s title is that monopoly situations very often result from the merging of separate companies. Thus, any companies wishing to merge may first find it advisable to clear the merger with the Commission rather than proceed with it only to find that it has to be abrogated.

Special rules apply to the merger of newspaper companies. Any such merger which will result in a proprietor obtaining a daily circulation of over 500,000 copies must. with very limited exceptions, be referred to the Commission and will be void and illegal until written consent has been obtained from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary , 3rd edt.