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Companies Act 1989

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

146Restriction on references where prior notice given

After section 75 of the [1973 c. 41.] Fair Trading Act 1973 there is inserted—

Restriction on power to make merger reference where prior notice has been given

75AGeneral rule where notice given by acquirer and no reference made within period for considering notice

(1)Notice may be given to the Director by a person authorised by regulations to do so of proposed arrangements which might result in the creation of a merger situation qualifying for investigation.

(2)The notice must be in the prescribed form and state that the existence of the proposal has been made public.

(3)If the period for considering the notice expires without any reference being made to the Commission with respect to the notified arrangements, no reference may be made under this Part of this Act to the Commission with respect to those arrangements or to the creation or possible creation of any merger situation qualifying for investigation which is created in consequence of carrying those arrangements into effect.

(4)Subsection (3) of this section is subject to sections 75B(5) and 75C of this Act.

(5)A notice under subsection (1) of this section is referred to in sections 75B to 75F of this Act as a “merger notice”.

75BThe role of the Director

(1)The Director shall, when the period for considering any merger notice begins, take such action as he considers appropriate to bring the existence of the proposal, the fact that the merger notice has been given and the date on which the period for considering the notice may expire to the attention of those who in his opinion would be affected if the arrangements were carried into effect.

(2)The period for considering a merger notice is the period of twenty days, determined in accordance with subsection (9) of this section, beginning with the first day after—

(a)the notice has been received by the Director, and

(b)any fee payable to the Director in respect of the notice has been paid.

(3)The Director may, and shall if required to do so by the Secretary of State, by notice to the person who gave the merger notice—

(a)extend the period mentioned in subsection (2) of this section by a further ten days, and

(b)extend that period as extended under paragraph (a) of this subsection by a further fifteen days.

(4)The Director may by notice to the person who gave the merger notice request him to provide the Director within such period as may be specified in the notice with such information as may be so specified.

(5)If the Director gives to the person who gave the merger notice (in this subsection referred to as “the relevant person”) a notice stating that the Secretary of State is seeking undertakings under section 75G of this Act, section 75A(3) of this Act does not prevent a reference being made to the Commission unless—

(a)after the Director has given that notice, the relevant person has given a notice to the Director stating that he does not intend to give such undertakings, and

(b)the period of ten days beginning with the first day after the notice under paragraph (a) of this subsection was received by the Director has expired.

(6)A notice by the Director under subsection (3), (4) or (5) of this section must either be given to the person who gave the merger notice before the period for considering the merger notice expires or be sent in a properly addressed and pre-paid letter posted to him at such time that, in the ordinary course of post, it would be delivered to him before that period expires.

(7)The Director may, at any time before the period for considering any merger notice expires, reject the notice if—

(a)he suspects that any information given in respect of the notified arrangements, whether in the merger notice or otherwise, by the person who gave the notice or any connected person is in any material respect false or misleading,

(b)he suspects that it is not proposed to carry the notified arrangements into effect, or

(c)any prescribed information is not given in the merger notice or any information requested by notice under subsection (4) of this section is not provided within the period specified in the notice.

(8)If—

(a)under subsection (3)(b) of this section the period for considering a merger notice has been extended by a further fifteen days, but

(b)the Director has not made any recommendation to the Secretary of State under section 76(b) of this Act as to whether or not it would in the Director’s opinion be expedient for the Secretary of State to make a reference to the Commission with respect to the notified arrangements,

then, during the last five of those fifteen days, the power of the Secretary of State to make a reference to the Commission with respect to the notified arrangements is not affected by the absence of any such recommendation.

(9)In determining any period for the purposes of subsections (2), (3) and (5) of this section no account shall be taken of—

(a)Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day, and

(b)any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales.

75CCases where power to refer unaffected

(1)Section 75A(3) of this Act does not prevent any reference being made to the Commission if—

(a)before the end of the period for considering the merger notice, it is rejected by the Director under section 75B(7) of this Act,

(b)before the end of that period, any of the enterprises to which the notified arrangements relate cease to be distinct from each other,

(c)any information (whether prescribed information or not) that—

(i)is, or ought to be, known to the person who gave the merger notice or any connected person, and

(ii)is material to the notified arrangements;

is not disclosed to the Secretary of State or the Director by such time before the end of that period as may be specified in regulations,

(d)at any time after the merger notice is given but before the enterprises to which the notified arrangements relate cease to be distinct from each other, any of those enterprises ceases to be distinct from any enterprise other than an enterprise to which those arrangements relate,

(e)the six months beginning with the end of the period for considering the merger notice expires without the enterprises to which the notified arrangements relate ceasing to be distinct from each other,

(f)the merger notice is withdrawn, or

(g)any information given in respect of the notified arrangements, whether in the merger notice or otherwise, by the person who gave the notice or any connected person is in any material respect false or misleading.

(2)Where—

(a)two or more transactions which have occurred or, if any arrangements are carried into effect, will occur may be treated for the purposes of a merger reference as having occurred simultaneously on a particular date, and

(b)subsection (3) of section 75A of this Act does not prevent such a reference with respect to the last of those transactions,

that subsection does not prevent such a reference with respect to any of those transactions which actually occurred less than six months before—

(i)that date, or

(ii)the actual occurrence of another of those transactions with respect to which such a reference may be made (whether or not by virtue of this subsection).

(3)In determining for the purposes of subsection (2) of this section the time at which any transaction actually occurred, no account shall be taken of any option or other conditional right until the option is exercised or the condition is satisfied.

75DRegulations

(1)The Secretary of State may make regulations for the purposes of sections 75A to 75C of this Act.

(2)The regulations may, in particular—

(a)provide for section 75B(2) or (3) or section 75C(1)(e) of this Act to apply as if any reference to a period of days or months were a reference to a period specified in the regulations for the purposes of the provision in question,

(b)provide for the manner in which any merger notice is authorised or required to be given, rejected or withdrawn, and the time at which any merger notice is to be treated as received or rejected,

(c)provide for the manner in which any information requested by the Director or any other material information is authorised or required to be provided or disclosed, and the time at which such information is to be treated as provided or disclosed,

(d)provide for the manner in which any notice under section 75B of this Act is authorised or required to be given,

(e)provide for the time at which any notice under section 75B(5)(a) of this Act is to be treated as received,

(f)provide for the address which is to be treated for the purposes of section 75B(6) of this Act and of the regulations as a person’s proper address,

(g)provide for the time at which any fee is to be treated as paid, and

(h)provide that a person is, or is not, to be treated, in such circumstances as may be specified in the regulations, as acting on behalf of a person authorised by regulations to give a merger notice or a person who has given such a notice.

(3)The regulations may make different provision for different cases.

(4)Regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument.

75EInterpretation of sections 75A to 75D

In this section and sections 75A to 75D of this Act—

  • “connected person”, in relation to the person who gave a merger notice, means—

    (a)

    any person who, for the purposes of section 77 of this Act, is associated with him, or

    (b)

    any subsidiary of the person who gave the merger notice or of any person so associated with him,

  • “merger notice” is to be interpreted in accordance with section 75A(5) of this Act,

  • “notified arrangements” means the arrangements mentioned in the merger notice or arrangements not differing from them in any material respect,

  • “prescribed” means prescribed by the Director by notice having effect for the time being and published in the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes,

  • “regulations” means regulations under section 75D of this Act, and

  • “subsidiary” has the meaning given by section 75(4K) of this Act,

and references to the enterprises to which the notified arrangements relate are references to those enterprises that would have ceased to be distinct from one another if the arrangements mentioned in the merger notice in question had been carried into effect at the time when the notice was given.

75FPower to amend sections 75B to 75D

(1)The Secretary of State may, for the purpose of determining the effect of giving a merger notice and the steps which may be or are to be taken by any person in connection with such a notice, by regulations made by statutory instrument amend sections 75B to 75D of this Act.

(2)The regulations may make different provision for different cases and may contain such incidental and supplementary provisions as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

(3)No regulations shall be made under this section unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament..

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