Page last updated at 07:53 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Friends Reunited deal is cleared

Friends Reunited logo
ITV announced the sale of Friends Reunited in August last year

The sale of social networking website Friends Reunited to genealogy firm Brightsolid has been provisionally cleared by the Competition Commission.

ITV's £25m sale of the website had been studied for any impact the tie-up may have on family tree research services.

But the commission concluded the deal posed "no threat" to consumers.

Brightsolid aims to join Friends' subsidiary website Genes Reunited with its own genealogy internet pages Findmypast.com and 1911Census.com.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had referred the deal to the Competition Commission in November last year.

It was worried that the deal would reduce the number of players in the sector to just two - Brightsolid and market leader Ancestry.co.uk.

This, it warned, "could lead to a reduction in choice and service for consumers".

However, the commission concluded: "The tie-up poses no threat to customers of online genealogy services."

The chairman of the inquiry group and Competition Commission deputy chairman, Laura Carstensen, said: "We found that while there is a degree of overlap in the activities of the two companies, it is small and their business models are different, and in the absence of the merger would be likely to remain so.

"After the merger another website, Ancestry.co.uk, will remain the largest supplier in this market and its presence, along with potential entry by new suppliers and the alternatives provided by free sites, will ensure that the merged company faces strong competition-preventing it from raising prices or worsening the service it provides."



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SEE ALSO
Probe into Friends Reunited sale
02 Nov 09 |  Business
ITV in 25m Friends Reunited sale
06 Aug 09 |  Business

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