Chelsea Ltd / Chelsea Village plc

OFT closed case: Completed acquisition by Chelsea Limited of a 50.09 per cent shareholding in Chelsea Village plc.

Affected market: Football

No. ME/1307/03

The OFT's decision on reference under section 22 given on 27 August 2003

PARTIES

Chelsea Ltd is wholly owned by Isherwood Investments Ltd, a company incorporated in Cyprus, which is in turn wholly owned by Taverham Holdings Limited (THL), a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.  Mr Roman Abramovich is the sole beneficial owner of THL. These companies were established earlier in 2003 and have no pre-existing business activities or turnover. Chelsea Village plc realises its turnover from the operation of the Chelsea Football Club and the supply of various products and services that are related to that club.  For the year ended 30 June 2002 Chelsea Village had a UK turnover of £115.3 million.

TRANSACTION

The transaction is an acquisition of shares conferring a controlling interest in Chelsea Village. The acquisition of the 50.09 per cent interest was completed on 2 July 2003.

The transaction was notified to the OFT on 1 August 2003 and the 40 day administrative deadline expires on 26 September 2003. The statutory deadline will expire on 1 November 2003.

JURISDICTION

As a result of this transaction Chelsea Ltd and Chelsea Village have ceased to be distinct. The UK turnover of Chelsea Village exceeds £70 million, so that the turnover test in section 23(1)(b) of the Enterprise Act 2002 is satisfied.  A relevant merger situation has been created.

ASSESSMENT

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. The merger does not appear to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.

DECISION

This merger will therefore not be referred to the Competition Commission under section 22(1) of the Act.

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