The Competition Commission has published an issues statement as part of its inquiry into the anticipated acquisition of Friends Reunited Holdings Limited (Friends Reunited) from ITV by Brightsolid Group Limited (Brightsolid).
The Commission has been asked to decide whether the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) within any market or markets in the UK. Brightsolid, which runs websites Find My Past.com and 1911 Census.com, and Friends Reunited, which owns Genes Reunited.com, are two of the three largest suppliers of online genealogy services in the UK. These websites allow users to search and access historical information and documents such as census results, birth, marriage and death records, and also supply family tree software.
The issues statement follows the first stages of gathering information, views and evidence and identifies clearly for all interested parties the specific questions and areas the inquiry is examining. This will form the basis for hearings with Brightsolid and Friends Reunited.
The full issues statement is available on the Commission’s website
The issues statement should not be seen as implying that the inquiry group (the Group) has identified any competition concerns—the Group has yet to reach any conclusions on this inquiry. The purpose of making the issues statement public is to inform all interested parties and give them an opportunity to raise any further points with the CC.
If the Group considers that the merger has resulted or may be expected to result in an SLC, it will consider whether and, if so, what remedies might be appropriate, taking into account any customer benefits that might arise from the acquisition, and will issue a notice of possible remedies, should this be required, at about the time it publishes its provisional findings.
The Commission is expected to report by 16 April 2010 and would like to hear comments on the issues statement from any interested parties, in writing, by 6 January 2010.
To submit evidence, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or write to: