The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has advised ABC Learning Centres that it will not oppose its acquisition of Peppercorn Management Group Limited and Child Care Centres Australia Limited.
The ACCC has made this decision after receiving a court-enforceable undertaking from ABC. The undertaking has two main elements:
the divestiture of a number of childcare centres in regional NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, and
ABC not acquiring any further childcare centre licences in certain regional areas in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
"The ACCC considers that this undertaking is necessary to ensure that the childcare prices do not rise as a result of the merger and that, in particular, parents in regional areas continue to have a choice of childcare centres for their children", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.
ABC proposes to acquire all of the shares in Peppercorn Management Group Limited and Child Care Centres Australia Limited. After the proposed merger, ABC would own or manage 771 centres, making it the largest child care provider in Australia.
ABC currently owns over 300 childcare centres in Australia in all States and Territories. Peppercorn Management Group manages around 450 centres across Australia, including over 100 owned by CCCA.
ABC's undertaking will appear on the ACCC's public register in due course.
A statement of reasons will be published in the ACCC website.