OFT delays Ottakar's decision until next week

<p>The Office of Fair Trading has again delayed its decision on whether to refer HMV's proposed takeover of Ottakar's to the Competition Commission. The OFT has informed the two companies that a decision can be expected"during the week commencing Monday 5th December".</p><p>In response, HMV has again extended its 440p per share offer to Ottakar's shareholders from 7th December to 1pm on 14th December. It can only continue to extend the offer at the discretion of the Takeover Panel.</p><p>The continuing delay comes after Ottakar's m.d. James Heneage's attempt to lead a management buyout of the 141-store chain was outbid by HMV. HMV's offer was conditional on the bid not being referred to the CC.</p><p>The OFT invited comments from the trade on the proposed acquisition back in September. The regulatory body sought further clarity on the effects of a merger locally and nationally, the overlap between the two chains, and the difference in buying policies. The OFT was also considering barriers for booksellers trying to enter the market if Ottakar's were taken over. The takeover has attracted sustained criticism from many publishers, authors and booksellers.Fiona.Fraser@bookseller.co.uk</p>