The United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading is investigating GAME’s recent buyout of rival retailer Gamestation to determine whether it will result in reduced competition in the videogame retail market.
In February of 2007, GAME acquired competing retailer Gamestation for €108 million. While GAME maintained Gamestation as a separately-branded seller, the OFT is nonetheless investigating the takeover to determine its impact on competition. If necessary, the case could be referred to the Competition Commission, an agency responsible for investigating mergers and monopolies.
“The Office of Fair Trading is considering whether arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002,” an OFT representative said. “Should it be found to be a relevant merger situation, the OFT will further consider whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the U.K. for goods or services that warrants reference to the Competition Commission for investigation and report.”
The Office of Fair Trading was established in 1972, and acts as the U.K.’s economic regulating agency. Its purpose is to “make markets work well for consumers,” by enforcing consumer protection and competition laws, reviewing proposed mergers and conducting market studies.