Explanatory Notes

Enterprise Act 2002

2002 CHAPTER 40

7 November 2002

Commentary on Sections

Part 3: Mergers

Summary and Background

Chapter 1: Duty to make references
Determination of references
Section 41: Duty to remedy effects of completed or anticipated mergers

147.There are close links between this section and sections 36 and 37. The latter require the CC to decide whether a merger has or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition, and to identify any action that should be taken to address it. Section 41 requires the CC to take the action that it considers to be reasonable and practicable to remedy, mitigate or prevent the competition problems that it has identified. The steps have to be consistent with the course of action included in the report on the reference, unless there has been a material change of circumstances, or the CC has a special reason for taking different steps.

148.The CC has a choice of preventing, remedying or mitigating the substantial lessening of competition or the adverse effects arising from that loss of competition. However, it has to have particular regard to the need to achieve as comprehensive a solution as is reasonable and practicable to the substantial lessening of competition itself.

149.Subsection (5) gives the CC an express discretion, in deciding on what action to take to address the competition problems, to have regard to the effect of any such action on any relevant customer benefits (as defined in section 30). The purpose of this subsection is to ensure that the CC has scope, if it considers that customer benefits are of sufficient importance, to impose a lesser competition remedy or no remedy at all if the only steps that the CC could take to remedy the competition problem are steps that would mean that the customer benefits could not be realised.