Former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued an intervention notice on the merger between the two companies at the beginning of August.
The intervention, under Section 42 of the Enterprise Act 2002, required Ofcom to submit advice to the Secretary of State on the public interest consideration of media plurality arising from the merger.
The Culture Secretary has carefully considered and accepted Ofcom’s recommendation that the merger should not be referred to the Competition Commission on media plurality grounds.
The case now reverts back to a competition-only assessment with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) having to decide whether to refer the case to the Competition Commission.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was also required to provide advice to the Secretary of State on the competition and jurisdictional aspects of the merger.
The OFT recommended the case should be referred to the Competition Commission on competition grounds but the decision now rests with the OFT.