Bauer, Pacific Magazines deal raises preliminary competition concerns

19 December 2019

The ACCC has raised preliminary competition concerns about the proposed sale of Pacific Magazines (ASX: SWM) to Bauer Media, in a deal that would combine Australia’s two biggest magazine publishers.

The ACCC is particularly concerned about the impact of the proposed acquisition on some key weekly magazine titles. Bauer’s Woman’s Day competes closely with New Idea, owned by Pacific Magazines, and Bauer’s Take 5 magazine competes strongly with Pacific Magazines’ That’s Life

“Pacific Magazines and Bauer are the only magazine publishers in certain categories, and their titles appear to compete head-to-head on content and cover price,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“We are acutely aware of the dramatic decline in magazine revenue, both in terms of lost advertising and reduced sales. The trends in the media sector were considered closely in our Digital Platform Inquiry final report published in July. Many magazines titles have closed over recent years, and more titles will close irrespective of this deal.”

“However, competition within markets has an important role to play to protect consumers, even in declining markets,” Mr Sims said.

“The key Bauer and Pacific Magazine titles remain profitable, and in some cases average more than one million readers per issue.”

“If Bauer bought Pacific Magazines, Bauer would remove its closest competitor in certain segments. Our preliminary view is that this would allow Bauer to reduce the effort put into content production and the range of content, or to increase prices.”

“While there is free online content available that resembles the content in these magazines, many consumers still value the physical format of magazines, the packaging together of stories, puzzles, prizes and other content, and the style of the articles produced by each magazine,” Mr Sims said.

“Our preliminary view is that many readers have a strong preference for print magazines in the key weekly categories.”

The ACCC is also continuing to consider the impact of the proposed acquisition on content acquisition including photographs.

The ACCC has published a statement of issues outlining its preliminary concerns. It invites submissions from interested parties by 14 February 2020. The ACCC’s final decision is scheduled for 2 April 2020.

Further information is available at Bauer Media Pty Limited - Pacific Magazines Pty Ltd.  

Background

Bauer publishes magazines (print and digital versions) and also publishes content online.

Bauer is part of the Bauer Media Group, which is based in Hamburg, Germany. Bauer Media Group is a privately-owned international media company publishing over 600 magazine titles globally.

Pacific Magazines is a publisher of content in magazines (print and digital versions) and online.

Pacific Magazines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASX-listed Seven West Media Limited. Seven West Media is a national media provider across television, magazine and newspaper publishing and online platforms.

Seven Group Holdings Limited, an Australian diversified operating and investment group, has a 41 per cent shareholding in Seven West Media.

Bauer’s and Pacific Magazines’ titles in content categories that overlap are as follows: 

Bauer

Pacific Magazines

“Women’s interest”

Australian Women’s Weekly

New Idea

Woman’s Day

New Idea Royals

It’s Your Day

 

Real life

Take 5

That’s Life!

Take 5 Monthly

That’s Life! Monthly

Home & Garden

Belle

Better Homes & Gardens

Country Style

Home Beautiful

Australian House & Garden

 

Inside Out

 

Real Living

 

Celebrity

NW

Who

OK!

 

Fashion & Lifestyle

Elle

InStyle

Harper’s Bazaar

Marie Claire

Health & fitness

Good Health

Women’s Health

 

Men’s Health

Puzzles

Take 5 Pocket Puzzler

Better Homes & Gardens Puzzle Book

Take 5 Mega Puzzler

Better Homes & Gardens Code Cracker

Woman’s Day Super Puzzler

Better Homes & Gardens Sudoku Book

Australian Women’s Weekly Puzzle Book

New Idea Jumbo Puzzler

NW Trivia & Puzzles

New Idea Mr Wisdom’s Whopper

 

Family Circle Puzzle Book

 

That’s Life! Bumper Puzzle Book

 

That’s Life! Puzzler on the Go

 

That’s Life! Crack the Code

 

That’s Life! Wordsearch

 

Mr Wisdom Presents Australia’s Own Sudoku

Food

Australian Gourmet Taveller

Family Circle

Australian Women’s Weekly Food

 

Parenting

The Bounty Pregnancy Booklet

Practical Parenting website

The Bounty Baby Care Booklet

 


Readership of key titles in the “women’s interest” and real life categories is as follows:

Title (publisher)

Average print readership per issue

“Women’s interest”

Woman’s Day (Bauer)

982,000

New Idea (Pacific Magazines)

1,404,000

Real life

Take 5 (Bauer)

469,000

That’s Life (Pacific Magazines)

751,000

Source: Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (July 2018 – June 2019). Print readership represents the average number of readers aged 14+ per issue over a period of 12 months

Release number: 
246/19
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

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