CC set to remove hibu’s Yellow Pages undertakings
14 Feb 2013
The Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally decided to remove undertakings (the Undertakings) which currently control the prices hibu plc (hibu) (formerly Yell Group plc) can charge advertisers for inclusion in its Yellow Pages printed directory and also place restrictions on its publication of other printed directories.
The CC has provisionally concluded that increased Internet access and usage by both consumers and advertisers has led to switching away from printed classified directories. This means that hibu no longer has market power in this area and that the Undertakings are no longer necessary.
The CC’s review followed a recommendation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on 26 October 2012 that the Undertakings may no longer be appropriate and that the CC should consider releasing hibu from them. The OFT’s advice is available here.
The current Undertakings were put in place in April 2007 following a CC investigation into classified directory advertising services, which was completed in December 2006 (PDF, 35 Kb) .
Martin Cave, Chairman of the Group reviewing the Undertakings and Deputy Chairman of the CC, said:
‘Twice as many people cite the Internet as their first choice when searching for goods and services as those citing Yellow Pages. This is almost the exact reverse of the situation when we carried out our investigation in 2006, when Yell held market power. Spending on Internet classified advertising has also more than doubled in the same period. hibu now prices below the price cap in all classifications and our provisional view is that there is no longer any need to retain the undertakings.’
The provisional decision and all other information relating to the review can be found here.
The CC is inviting comments from any interested parties on the provisional decision. Comments should be made in writing by 5pm on 4 March 2013 to Brid.McHugh@cc.gsi.gov.uk or:
hibu review of undertakings
Notes for editors
1. The CC is an independent public body, which carries out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries.
2. The OFT has a duty to keep under review orders and undertakings made under the Fair Trading Act 1973 and the Enterprise Act 2002 and, from time to time, to consider whether, by reason of any change of circumstances, an order and/or undertaking is no longer appropriate. The CC has the power to vary or revoke the orders and/or undertakings. It will now review the OFT’s advice and make a final decision.
3. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor or Siobhan Allen on 020 7271 0242.