On the 16 September 2009, the CC decided to extend the period of reference in the Sports Direct/JJB merger. This decision was made to enable Sports Direct to provide the information and documents required under the Notice under section 109 of the Enterprise Act 2002 requiring the provision of certain information, which was issued on 14 September 2009. In making the decision, the CC stated that it had regard to the press release by JJB on 10 September 2009 which indicated that JJB was assisting the OFT in an investigation into anti-competitive conduct in the sports retail market. In particular, JJB and Sports Direct are under investigation by the OFT and the Serious Fraud Office following alleged cartel activity in the sector.
The Commission further concluded that in light of these circumstances, Sports Direct may have a legitimate excuse for failing to comply with the requirements of the Notice and that an extension to the inquiry period is therefore necessary.