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HMV-Ottakar’s deal cleared to be clinched

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15/05/2006

The Competition Commission (CC) has formally cleared the way for HMV to make a new bid for bookseller Ottakar’s, and stated that the tie-up would not result in a “substantial lessening of competition”.

The CC investigated HMV’s initial offer of £96.4m after a number of independent book retailers voiced opposition to the bid. But its latest report concluded that competition from the supermarkets, and online retailer Amazon, meant that the merger will have only limited impact on the market.

“The bookselling business has been going through a massive change lately,” said retail analyst Debbie Harrison. “Certainly the advent of the online market, and the decision of the big supermarkets like Tesco to sell books, has meant that traditional retailers have lost much of their power.”

Earlier this month HMV Group repulsed a £280m offer for its Waterstone’s business from founder Tim Waterstone.

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