ITV’s attempt to offload its social network Friends?Reunited for £25m hit a stumbling block last night, after the competition watchdog warned the deal could breach competition law. <br /><br />The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has asked the Competition Commission to investigate the proposed sale’s impact on the family tree research sector. <br /><br />Brightsolid, a subsidiary of DC Thompson, said it would buy the site last August and use it as the to build an online genealogy powerhouse.<br /><br />But the OFT said yesterday the deal could leave too few players in the sector, meaning “a reduction in choice and service for consumers”.<br /><br />Brightsolid wanted to combine its findmypast.com and 1911Census.com websites with Friends Reunited’s Genes Reunited.<br /><br />“People’s growing interest in researching their family tree has made this an increasingly important market,” Amelia Fletcher of the OFT said. “We are concerned this merger could lead to a reduction in choice or service for consumers”. <br /><br />ITV and Brightsolid said they were “disappointed” by the move, and Brightsolid’s boss Chris van der Kuyl said it was good for competition.<br /><br />The Commission has a deadline of 16 April 2010 to reach a conclusion.