Ofcom will lose competition enforcement powers

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By Stephen Hornsby

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently going through Parliament will merge the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) with the Competition Commission, creating the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and in so doing will broadly align the UK enforcement of competition law with systems in continental Europe such as DG Comp and the German cartel office. In the little-noticed clause 45, the new CMA will have the power to insist that Ofcom hands over responsibility of a given competition matter to it.

Up until now, so-called concurrent enforcement by Ofcom and the OFT has left Ofcom with the lion’s share of work in the media and telecoms sector. Whereas OFT reviewed Sky’s position in Pay TV in the mid-90s and beyond, the most recent review was carried out (with an unsuccessful outcome) by Ofcom…

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