asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the reason for the prolonged delay before they decided what the proposed merger between Grand Metropolitan Limited and the Coral Leisure Group should be referred to the Monopolies Commission; and whether they would hope to announce such decisions more expeditiously in the future.
There was no unreasonable delay. A merger reference raising important questions of public interest requires careful consideration. Where a public offer is involved the Government aim (and are usually able) to announce their decision before the first closing date of the offer, though it is generally accepted that the decision may cometimes take longer. In this case the decision to make a reference was announted at the start of business on the day following the first closing date of the offer.