Affected market: Clothing retail
The OFT's decision on reference under section 22 given on 10 March 2004
Baugur Group (Baugur) is an international investment company with holdings in mainly the retail and property sector, including a 10 per cent minority shareholding in House of Fraser.
Oasis Stores Ltd (Oasis) sells clothing and accessories for women under the Oasis and Coast brand names. The ultimate holding company of Oasis is Sierra Holdings Ltd. Sierra Holding's UK turnover for the year ending 31 January 2003 was £145 million.
Baugur acquired the entire issued share capital of Sierra Holdings on 15 November 2003. The parties notified the OFT of the transaction on 19 January 2004 and therefore the 40-day administrative timetable will expire on 15 March 2004. The statutory deadline will expire on 14 March 2004.
As a result of this transaction Baugur and Oasis have ceased to be distinct. The UK turnover of Oasis exceeds £70 million, so that the turnover test in section 23(1)(b) of the Enterprise Act 2002 (the Act) is satisfied . A relevant merger situation has been created.
There is no horizontal overlap between the activities of the parties, nor are there any vertical links between them. There is also no risk of any conglomerate effects arising. Consequently, the OFT does not believe that it is or may be the case that the merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the UK.
This merger will therefore not be referred to the Competition Commission under section 22(1) of the Act.