§ LORD WADE
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the taking by a public industry of a controlling interest in a private industry is subject to examination under the Monopolies and Mergers Act, and how many such "takeovers" have occurred since the present Government took office.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD RHODES)
The answer to the first part of the Question is: Yes, if the value of the assets taken over exceeds £5 million. The Board of Trade also have power to refer a merger to the Monopolies Corn-mission on the ground that it would lead to or strengthen a monopoly, provided that the monopoly conditions are not "expressly authorised by or under any enactment". This proviso might exclude the reference to the Commission of particular acquisitions by nationalised industries. But there are concerns in public ownership which have not been given an express statutory monopoly; and some concerns which have an express statutory monopoly may make acquisitions outside the field of the activity in which they have such a monopoly.
I regret that the information for which the noble Lord asks in the second part of his Question is not available; but I am aware of no such mergers since the Monopolies and Mergers Act 1965 became law.