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Volume 175: debated on Monday 2 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will ask the Director General of Fair Trading to investigate changes in share ownership of TVS Entertainment Ltd. and other companies holding ITV franchises.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 25 June, at column 25. The provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1981 operate without prejudice to the Fair Trading Act 1973. Under the latter, the Director General of Fair Trading has a duty to keep himself informed of mergers and proposed mergers. If changes in the share ownership of a company holding an ITV franchise gave rise to a merger situation qualifying under the Fair Trading Act for reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission he would advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on whether it should be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.