Market investigation references: OFT511

Provides information on the circumstances in which markets will be referred for a market investigation under the Enterprise Act 2002.


Market investigation references

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This guidance was originally published by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and has been adopted by the CMA Board. The original text has been retained unamended, therefore it does not reflect or take account of developments in case law, legislation or practice since its original publication.

Please also note:

  • all references to issues of jurisdiction or procedure in mergers cases or to market studies or investigations must be read in the light of Mergers: Guidance on the CMA’s jurisdiction and procedure (CMA2) and Market studies and market investigations: Supplemental guidance on the CMA’s approach (CMA3); in the case of conflict, CMA2 or CMA3 prevail
  • references to the OFT or Competition Commission (CC) (except where referring to specific past OFT or CC practice or case law) should be read as referring to the CMA
  • references to ‘referral to the CC’ or ‘a reference to the CC’ should be read as the referral of a case by the CMA (or Secretary of State) either for a Phase 2 investigation involving an Inquiry Group of CMA panel members or for a market investigation by a market reference group of CMA panel members
  • references to articles of the EC Treaty should be read as referring to the equivalent articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
  • certain OFT or CC departments, teams or individual roles may not be replicated in the CMA, or may have been renamed; the CMA’s structure is set out in our organisation chart
  • do not use any contact details quoted; please go to the home page for details on how to contact the CMA

The following table details particular changes, although please note that this is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of changes:

Existing guidance reference Supplemental guidance reference
Paragraph 1.6 Should be read in conjunction with paragraphs 1.21 to 1.24 which explain how the reference process is changed to take account of the formation of the CMA
Paragraph 1.7 Should be read in conjunction with paragraph 2.32 which explains that only features relating to conduct can be the subject of a cross-market reference
Paragraph 2.19 Should be read in conjunction with paragraphs 2.6 to 2.10 which explain the requirement to publish a market study notice and the applicable timescales for the market study stage
Paragraphs 3.1 to 3.3 These paragraphs are superseded by paragraphs 2.11 to 2.16 which explain the investigatory powers available to the CMA and when they are available in relation to market studies
Paragraphs 3.6 to 3.9 Should be read in conjunction with paragraph 2.9 which sets out the statutory timescales and consultation process that apply when the CMA proposes to make a reference
Paragraph 3.10 This paragraph is superseded by paragraphs 2.18 to 2.30 which explain the changes made to the procedure for making public interest interventions
Published 12 March 2014