Probe into Nottingham Broadmarsh shopping centre deal

The Office of Fair Trading has announced it is investigating the takeover of Nottingham's Broadmarsh shopping centre.

Owner Westfield had promised a £500m redevelopment of the site, but in November the company said it would sell its stake to Capital Shopping Centres.

It is believed CSC, which also owns Nottingham's Victoria Centre, bought Westfield's shares in December.

The OFT said an investigation into the impact of the merger was under way.

In a statement, the OFT said: "Should it [the takeover] be found to be a relevant merger situation, the OFT will further consider whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market in the United Kingdom for goods or services that warrants reference to the Competition Commission for investigation and report."

A spokesperson from CSC said: "We are co-operating with the Office of Fair Trading in supplying any information they require. However, we do not believe that there are any competition issues in relation to the purchase of Broadmarsh."

'Unfortunate' delay

In March, Westfield submitted plans to Nottingham City Council for a £500m expansion of the centre.

More than 6,000 jobs were expected to be created as part of the redevelopment.

The city council, which owns the Broadmarsh lease, has been planning the redevelopment of the centre for almost two decades.

A spokesman from the city council said: "It is unfortunate that this referral has been made because although we don't expect it to be successful, it will undoubtedly add delay to our talks over the future development of the south end of the city.

"We had started constructive discussions with Capital Shopping Centres over their future plans for the Broadmarsh shopping centre and we will continue to negotiate with them irrespective of this development."

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