Pacific Retail Group Ltd / Powerhouse Holdings Ltd / Powerhouse Retail Ltd / Powerhouse Connect Ltd

OFT closed case: Completed acquisition by Pacific Retail Group Ltd of Powerhouse Holdings Ltd, Powerhouse Retail Ltd and Powerhouse Connect Ltd.

Affected market: Electrical appliance retailing

No. ME/1434/03

The OFT's decision on reference under section 22 given on 6 November 2003

PARTIES

Pacific Retail Group Ltd (PRG) is a New Zealand listed company with a number of businesses including electrical appliance retailers which only operate in New Zealand. In the UK PRG owns Bendon (UK) Ltd, a clothing retail business.
Powerhouse Holdings Ltd, Powerhouse Retail Ltd and Powerhouse Connect Ltd (collectively Powerhouse) operated a number of electrical appliance stores throughout the UK. Powerhouse's UK turnover was £266 million. It went into receivership in August 2003.

TRANSACTION

PRG acquired certain (but not all) assets of Powerhouse as a going concern from the administrative receivers.

Details of the acquisition were received by the OFT on 15 October 2003. The 40-day administrative deadline is 10 December. It was completed on 2 September 2003 and the statutory deadline is 1 January 2004.

JURISDICTION

As a result of this transaction PRG and Powerhouse have ceased to be distinct. The UK turnover of Powerhouse 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.

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 OFT does not believe that the creation of the relevant merger situation has resulted in a substantial lessening of competition within a 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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