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Somerfield plc v Competition Commission

Where the acquisition of retail stores resulted in a substantial lessening of competition in a local grocery market, the Competition Commission was entitled to take as its starting point that the acquirer should divest itself of particular disputed acquired stores unless the commission was persuaded that the divestiture of alternative stores would be equally satisfactory in remedying the substantial lessening of competition. Guidance was given on the nature of the Competition Commission's report under s 38(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002.

14 April 2006

The claimant supermarket retailer (S) applied for judicial review of a decision of the respondent Competition Commission concluding that the completed acquisition by S of 115 stores previously owned by another supermarket retailer might be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in 12 local grocery markets and ordering S to divest itself of 12 of its stores to suitable grocery retailers approved by the commission. Issues arose as to whether, in relation to four stores, the commission was entitled to require S to divest the acquired store, rather than its existing store, to remedy the substantial lessening of competition found in the relevant locality, and whether the commission had taken into account irrelevant considerations, or acted on the basis of insufficient evidence, or failed to give proper reasons for its decision or had otherwise acted outside its powers. S contended that the commission had (1) acted unreasonably and without adequate foundation by orde...

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