Provisional findings on review of Yell price control

Competition Commission summary of provisional findings (14 pages, PDF) in its inquiry into the supply of the supply of classified directory advertising services in the UK. Yell is found to have "market power" and the Commission goes on to state that it would "normally expect a detrimental effect on customers to arise in the presence of market power". The Commission identifies various market features which prevent, restrict or distort competition in the market. These features include: the large (national) market share of Yell (75%) combined with a lack of competitive constraints on Yell's pricing (Yell currently operates under a price control); a history of market concentration over a number of years; the importance of brand identity; and the need for potential suppliers on the market to attract both readers and advertisers.

Taking this summary paper at face value, the Commission's approach seems to set a low threshold for finding market features that "prevent, restrict or distort competition" within the meaning of the Market Investigations provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.

The provisional findings have been published more than two months later than the Commission had anticipated in January 2006, when it published its emerging thinking.

A notice of possible remedies (3 pages, PDF) has also been published.

Update, 21 June 2006: The full provisional findings report (155 pages, PDF) has been published, along with various appendices.

Filed under Competition Commission, Media.

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