Enterprise Act 2002
2002 CHAPTER 40
Commentary on Sections
Part 3: Mergers
Summary and Background
Chapter 2: Public interest cases
Reports on references
Section 51: Time-limits for investigations and reports by Commission
171.This section (subsection (1)) provides for an upper time-limit of 24 weeks for the CC to send its report to the Secretary of State in a case raising public interest concerns. FTA 1973 currently sets a time-limit of six months. Subsection (2) ensures that, where the merger has been referred back to the UK from the European Commission, the CC will report within a shorter time-limit if necessary.
172.Subsections (3)-(8) provide for extensions to the 24-week timetable. The CC may extend the timetable once by up to 8 weeks where it has special reasons to do so. FTA 1973 currently allows an extension of up to 3 months. The CC will also be able to extend the timetable where a party to the merger fails to deliver required information – the extension in those cases would be for the period between the deadline for receipt of the information and the actual receipt of that information, or until the CC cancelled the extension.
Section 52: Section 51: supplementary
173.This section limits the ability of the CC to extend its timetable in a case that has been referred back to the UK, where that would conflict with the timetable set by the ECMR. It also provides that the extensions provided for special circumstances and delays in obtaining information can be cumulative, but that multiple extensions for failure to provide information can run concurrently where they overlap. The section also allows the Secretary of State to alter the standard timetable and extension time-periods (but provides that the periods must not be set above 24 weeks and 8 weeks respectively).
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