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Her Majesty's Stationery Office

Volume 281: debated on Tuesday 16 July 1996

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on progress of the sale of HMSO. [37872]

Following the first phase of analysis of the bids for HMSO, I have invited three of the shortlisted bidders to continue in the competition. These are,

an independent consortium backed by Mercury Asset Management, 3i and Capita;
National Publishing Group, a consortium led by Electra Fleming; and
Westminster Information Systems led by NatWest Ventures.
It is the Government's intention, subject to meeting the safeguards required by Parliament, to identify one of these three as preferred bidder by early August and to complete the sale as planned during the summer when an order will be introduced under section 6 of the Government Trading Funds Act 1973, as amended, to wind up the HMSO trading fund.