The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has cleared Tesco Stores Limited's (Tesco) October 2003 acquisition of Brian Ford Discount Store Limited (Brian Ford). The OFT began investigating the merger in 2008 (five years after the acquisition), as details of the merger were only made public in a Daily Telegraph article on 22 June 2008. Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the OFT has the power to investigate a merger up to four months following either: (i) the date of completion; or (ii) the date details of the merger are made public. The OFT accepted that Tesco was not under an obligation to publicise the transaction, but stated that by doing so, Tesco accepted the risk that merger review was a possibility for four months following the date when the transaction was made public. Although this merger was cleared, the case emphasises the OFT's extensive powers to investigate completed mergers.
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