HL Deb 12 July 1965 vol 268 cc1-2

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in anticipation of the early passage into law of the Monopolies and Mergers Bill, Showerings Limited have sought the views of the Board of Trade on their proposed offer to take over Harveys of Bristol; and, if so, with what result.]


My Lords, the answer to the noble Lord's question is, No. The Board of Trade have not been asked for their views, although they have been given some of the documents relating to the offer. If either of the firms concerned wished to seek guidance from the Board of Trade, the Board of Trade would do what they could to answer their questions. When my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade moved the Second Reading of the Monopolies and Mergers Bill in another place, he explained that, once the Bill became law, the Board of Trade would always be ready to say whether a proposed merger appeared to them to be legally within the field of investigation. When consulted about a merger proposal which had been made public, the Board of Trade would also as a general rule be prepared to make known within a reasonable time whether they would refer the proposed merger to the Commission.


My Lords, may I thank the noble Lord for his full and, I think, helpful reply. May I ask him whether this is the type of case the Board of Trade would like to have referred to them for informal consultation and advice in the future?


My Lords, I should not altogether like to commit the Board of Trade on that. As my right honourable friend has explained in another place, we could not be dogmatic about the guidance we could give at that stage, when it might well be that we had not all the relevant considerations before us.

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