UK competition authorities have given ITV the go-ahead for the £25m (US$39m) sale of its social networking site Friends Reunited to IT firm Brightsolid. The acquisition of Friends Reunited Group will create Britain's leading genealogy business by bringing together Genes Reunited and findmypast.com (which operate the official 1901 and 1911 Census websites respectively in association with The National Archives) and ScotlandsPeople in partnership with General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon.
The move gives a boost to embattled ITV, which last August sold the site to Brightsolid, an IT technology company owned by comics publisher DC Thomson, in a deal that represented a considerable loss on the £175m ITV paid for Friends Reunited back in 2005.
The Competition Commission said today the sale "would result in the creation of a relevant merger situation," since Brightsolid already runs genealogy websites such as Find My Past and 1911Census.com.
However, it added that "the creation of that situation may not be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for online genealogical services."
The Commission is now accepting feedback on the initial verdict, to be received by March 11.