With the consent of the Authority, a licence may be transferred from one legal entity to another.
A transfer may relate to the whole or any part of the licence and may be requested by the transferor (the existing licensee) or the transferee (the proposed licensee).
In deciding whether to give its consent to a requested transfer, the Authority is obliged to apply the same criteria as it would apply if it was deciding whether to give consent to a fresh application for a licence. In this regard, please see our Gas and Electricity license applications guidance document - PDF, 560Kb - link opens in a new browser window.
1. in the case of a whole-licence transfer, the Authority will apply the same criteria as it would were it to consider granting a corresponding licence to the transferee; or
2. in the case of a partial transfer the Authority will apply the same criteria as it would were it to consider granting:
(i) the transferee a licence corresponding to so much of the licence as is proposed to be transferred; and
(ii) the transferor a licence corresponding to so much of the licence as is being retained.
Those seeking a transfer must, therefore, provide all the information required by the application regulations and satisfy the same criteria.
The three main differences between the transfer of a licence and a new licence application are:
1. no application fee is payable for licence transfer applications;
2. there is no requirement on the applicants to publish a notice of application for a licence transfer; and
3. Ofgem is required to publish a notice (for at least two months) proposing giving its consent to a transfer.
Most transfers are the result of mergers and acquisitions, or company restructuring. A licence must be transferred if, because of the merger, acquisition or restructuring, the legal entity that is carrying on the licensable activity is no longer the same legal entity to which the licence was granted.
Licences are the personal property and possessions of a legal entity and cannot be bought or sold separate to that legal entity. Therefore, if the company registration number changes consent for transfer or a new licence is required.