§ Mr. Anthony Grant
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will raise the level of the assets threshold for determining whether mergers qualify for reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the Fair Trading Act.
I have today made an order to raise from £5 million to £15 million 659W the assets criterion for qualifying mergers under the Fair Trading Act 1973. The market share criterion will remain unchanged. The order will come into operation on 10 April.
The assets criterion was originally set at £5 million in 1965 and was confirmed at that figure in the Fair Trading Act in 1973. The effects of inflation have gradually extended the scope of merger control.
Raising the assets criterion, while retaining the market share criterion for qualifying mergers will remove many small mergers from the scope of the legislation while ensuring that significant mergers can continue to be scrutinised.