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House of Lords written question – answered on 13th May 2002.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Hendon Baroness Miller of Hendon Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of their commitment during the passage of the Postal Services Bill through this House, that in connection with acquisitions and disposals, the Post Office would conform to the reporting requirements of the Stock Exchange, why the Post Office did not immediately announce publicly the failure of the recent negotiations.

Photo of Lord Sainsbury of Turville Lord Sainsbury of Turville Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Science and Innovation), Department of Trade and Industry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry) (Science and Innovation)

During the passage of the Postal Services Bill, I said that it was our intention "that the Post Office company should provide transparent information on completed acquisitions and disposals along the lines of the London Stock Exchange disclosure requirements;" (Official Report, 29 June 2000, col 1118). Such a requirement has been placed on the company (now Consignia Holdings plc) in Article 13 of the company's articles of association. The company's recent discussions with TPG did not reach a point that required any announcement to be made under either the articles of association or the requirements of the Stock Exchange.

Under Chapter 9. paragraph 9.4 of the UK Listing Authority Sourcebook, a company need not notify a regulatory information service about impending developments or matters in the course of negotiation. In addition, the possible merger negotiations between Consignia and TPG did not reach a stage where an announcement was required under section 2.2 of the Takeover Panel's City Code on Takeovers and Mergers.

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