The Competition Commission is to rethink its opposition to Eurotunnel’s acquisition of former SeaFrance ferries on cross channel routes from Dover.
The decision to reconsider the ruling followed a legal challenge from the tunnel operator which set up the MyFerryLink business in 2012 run mainly by former SeaFrance staff.
The commission said last June that Eurotunnel could no longer run ferries from Dover as the rise in its overall market share to over half would lead to price hikes.
Eurotunnel challenged the ruling and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) said in December that the commission should reconsider.
The commission said it now aimed to make a decision by the end of April.
It confirmed that it will be looking at whether Eurotunnel, together with a workers’ co-operative formed by former SeaFrance employees, acquired an ‘enterprise’ falling within UK merger control.
The commission is inviting responses by January 22.
A Eurotunnel spokesman said: “The group has been expecting this announcement as the issue of the Competition Commission’s jurisdiction has been the key point of contention throughout the process.
“The group is now considering how to respond to this next phase whilst continuing to ensure the best choice for customers.”
Cross channel rivals P&O Ferries and DFDS/LD Lines originally raised concerns to the Office of Fair Trading and its French counterpart.
They argue Eurotunnel already owns a monopoly on the short-sea route and should not be allowed to take a share of the ferry market.
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