Investigation into GUS acquisition
On 25 September 2003 the completed acquisition by March UK (an associate of Littlewoods Ltd) of the home shopping and home delivery business of GUS plc was referred by the Secretary of State (on the advice of the Office of Fair Trading) to the Competition Commission for full investigation as to whether it is against the public interest. It was felt that there was a significant prospect that the merger would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the mail order and business to consumer parcel delivery markets. In reaching this conclusion the Secretary of State was influenced by the fact that following the merger Littlewoods would have a market share within the mail order sector that was three times that of the next largest competitor. The acquisition would also result in Littlewoods accounting for more than half of the “budget” business to consumer home delivery services.