In a sensational turn of events, with the deal said to be within days of completion, Future this morning announced to the Stock Exchange it had withdrawn its offer.
As a result of yesterday’s developments, the statement said: “Future plc believes that it would not be in the interests of Future plc's shareholders to pursue further a possible acquisition of the issued ordinary share capital of Highbury. Future plc will accordingly approach the Competition Commission to seek a cancellation of the reference.”
The OFT said yesterday it had referred the proposed acquisition on the basis of: “Concerns that the combination of the largest supplier of computer games magazines in the UK with its largest competitor may be expected to lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the UK.”
Future CEO Greg Ingham (pictured) informed staff of the decision earlier this morning via email. He vigorously defended Future’s proposal, but blamed the delay the referral would have had on the process for the company’s decision.
“We do not agree that the OFT verdict is right and do not accept that the deal would have been adverse for consumers,” he said.