Eurotunnel: when buying assets is a merger* When is an asset acquisition a merger? As the Eurotunnel litigation shows, the answer is not clear-cut. The background is the 2011 liquidation of the cross-channel ferry company SeaFrance. It could not be sold as a going concern, so instead there was an asset sale. Eurotunnel bought three ferries and various other assets including the SeaFrance logos, brand and trade name, computer software, websites and domain names, and IT systems. The Enterprise Act 2002 provides (in summary) that there is a relevant merger situation if one business acquires, “the activities, or part of the activities, of [another] business.”
The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds that when a company acquires assets that can potentially be turned into a business activity such an acquisition can be considered a merger (Eurotunnel / SeaFrance / MyFerryLink)
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