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British Sky Broadcasting: ITV

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to make his decision on whether BSkyB’s acquisition of a 17.9 per cent. stake in ITV should be referred to the Competition Commission. (135302)

A decision on whether to refer this transaction to the Competition Commission will be made as soon as possible and before the statutory deadline which is 26 May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from officials at BSkyB on its stake in ITV; and if he will publish those representations. (135303)

BSkyB has made substantive representations on its shareholding in ITV to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and to Ofcom in the context of the respective investigations these bodies have carried out into that matter. The reports submitted by the OFT and Ofcom to the Secretary of State on Friday 27 April contain summaries of the representations they received, including those received from BSkyB. Section 107(3)(b) and 107(3)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002 require the Secretary of State to publish the reports submitted by the OFT and Ofcom. Section 107(9)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002 requires that these reports shall be published no later than the publication of the Secretary of State’s decision on whether to make a reference to the Competition Commission. In accordance with section 118 of the Enterprise Act 2002, suitable excisions will be made to the reports of the OFT and Ofcom prior to their publication. The excisions will be primarily in respect of the consideration specified in section 244(3)(a) of the Enterprise Act 2002 which concerns the exclusion of commercial information whose disclosure might significantly harm the legitimate business interests of the undertaking to which it relates.