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98/12 26 October 2012
The Office of Fair Trading has found that undertakings given by Yell Group plc (now known as hibu plc) relating to its Yellow Pages business, may no longer be appropriate, and is recommending that the Competition Commission consider releasing the company from them.
hibu plc gave the undertakings in 2007 after a Competition Commission market investigation found that the company's market power meant that prices for classified advertising in the Yellow Pages were higher than they would have been in a well-functioning market. These undertakings include:
In line with its duty under the Enterprise Act 2002, the OFT has reviewed these undertakings to consider whether they are still appropriate.
In August 2012, the OFT opened a public consultation on its provisional findings. While it heard differing opinions about the potential effects of releasing hibu from these undertakings, the OFT is of the view that there has been a change of circumstances because the growth in internet usage by both consumers and advertisers has led to suppliers of printed classified directories facing a broader range of competitive constraints.
Nisha Arora, Director in the OFT's Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group, said:
'We have found that the market has undergone a change of circumstances and it is now for the Competition Commission to decide whether hibu should be released from these undertakings agreed in 2007.'
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