Cineworld faces probe (not over silly popcorn prices)
The OFT has referred the acquisition to the Competition Commission after they uncovered issues in five local areas, fearing that it could limit the choice and price (increases) of cinema-goers.
Cineworld's takeover of the 22-strong Picturehouse chain, in short, could nullify competition in Aberdeen, Brighton, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and Southampton, where Cineworld brands would overlap.
The watchdog said research showed a sufficient number of customers see their local Cineworld as an alternative to Picturehouse, and that Cineworld "may find it profitable to raise prices after the merger".
Jackie Holland, OFT senior director and decision maker in the case, said: "Our investigation found that although Picturehouse cinemas show art house and foreign language films, a large proportion of Picturehouse's revenue comes from more mainstream films, in direct competition to Cineworld."
'We are concerned that as a result of the merger, cinema-goers in five local areas could face higher ticket prices and a significantly reduced choice of cinemas and films."
Next week: Shock as more and more people pirate films.