Friends Reunited sale referred to watchdog

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The Independent Online

ITV's £25 million sale of Friends Reunited has been referred to the competition watchdog for further investigation, it was announced today.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said it had asked the Competition Commission to look at the deal amid concerns over the effect on competition in the family tree research sector.

DC Thomson's subsidiary Brightsolid agreed to buy social networking site Friends Reunited in August with the aim of creating a major genealogy business, bringing together its and offerings with the Genes Reunited site.

But the OFT said the acquisition would whittle down the players in the sector from three to two and "could lead to a reduction in choice and service for consumers".