Judgment of the Tribunal on the application of Lebedev Holdings Limited (“LHL”) and Independent Digital News and Media Limited (“IDNM”) (together, the “Applicants”) for review under s. 120 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (“EA 02”) of the decision of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (the “Secretary of State”) to issue, on 27 June 2019, a public interest intervention notice (“PIIN”) under section 42 EA 02 in respect of certain acquisitions of shares in LHL and IDNM.
The Applicants sought an order quashing the PIIN on two grounds:
Ground 1: that the PIIN was issued out of time; and/or
Ground 2: that the PIIN set a deadline for reports from the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) and the Office of Communications which was after the time in which the Secretary of State could make a ‘Phase 2’ reference to the CMA under section 45 EA 02, and, in any event, that time had now expired, so that no reference could now be made.
For the reasons given in the Judgment, the Tribunal: (1) dismissed Ground 1 as the PIIN was issued in time; and (2) upheld Ground 2 insofar as the Tribunal held that there is a four-months time limit for the Secretary of State to make a reference, which time-limit has expired.
In light of its decision above, the Tribunal did not think it appropriate to quash the PIIN but made a declaration that the time limit for the Secretary of State to make a reference under section 45 EA 02 expired on 1 July 2019.
This is an unofficial summary prepared by the Registry of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.