Commission Appeal Tribunal Refuses Virgin Media and BSkyB Applications
The Secretary of State and the Competition Commission successfully resisted attempts by Virgin Media and BSkyB to persuade the Competition Appeal Tribunal to order that aspects of the acquisition by BSkyB of 17.9% of ITV’s shareholding be remitted to the Commisison and ultimately the Secretary of State for reconsideration. Virgin and Sky’s application followed the recent decision of the Tribunal to uphold the the Secretary of State’s decision ordering Sky to divest its shareholding in ITV down to a level below 7.5%. Virgin and Sky argued, on separate grounds, that the matter should be remitted for reconsideration following the CAT’s finding that the Commission and the Secretary of State had erred in aspects of their determinations that Sky’s acquisition did not impact upon the sufficiency of media plurality. The CAT, in refusing the applications, accepted the Secretary of State and Competition Commission’s arguments that any such remital would be otiose, since any reconsideration would not impact upon the appropriate remedy ordered by the Secretary of State to address the substantial lessening of competition, which remedy the CAT had already upheld.
The Secretary of State was represented by Elisa Holmes
The Competition Commission was represented by John Swift QC and Rob Williams.