On 14 January 2000 John Bridgeman, Director General of the Office of Fair Trading, announced that he would review the Beer Orders. It will be recalled that an earlier review, scheduled for 1993, had been cancelled by Michael Heseltine. In conversation with the authors in 2011 Bridgeman said that he had first begun to have concerns about the relevance of the Orders in the summer of 1996, but that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry had felt that a review would be premature as more time was needed to see how the pub and beer markets were developing. Then later, when Ministers might have been more responsive to the idea of a review, corporate activity in the sector prevented it, the feeling being that any review undertaken during or immediately after a Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) inquiry would be inappropriate and that in any event a lengthy review could impede corporate activity. Thus it was not until the dust had settled on the Bass/Punch acquisition of the Allied Domecq pubs late in 1999 that a review of the Orders was possible.
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