Between 1998 and 2001, Hoyts and Greater Union entered into various arrangements for joint ventures and the sharing of operations at cinemas in the Perth, Brisbane and Sydney CBDs. Greater Union and Hoyts propose to unwind these arrangements such that:
- in Perth, Hoyts will acquire Greater Union's 45% interest in the Cinema City joint venture. The other Perth cinema complex subject to the existing joint venture, the 3-screen CineCentre, will be closed;
- in Sydney, Hoyts will acquire Greater Union's 50% interest in the Broadway Cinema joint venture. Greater Union will acquire Hoyts' interest in 6 screens at the George Street cinema joint venture; and
- in Brisbane, Greater Union will acquire Hoyts' interest in 7 screens at the Myer and Regent cinema complexes.
First release film exhibition in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.
The ACCC considered that competition from other suburban and CBD cinema operators would constrain Greater Union and Hoyts from increasing ticket prices. For example, in Brisbane, Greater Union will face competition from Cineplex, AMC and Westside Cinemas. In Sydney, Greater Union's competitors will include Hoyts' 12-screen Broadway cinema complex and Reading's 5-screen Market City cinema complex.
Accordingly, on 7 December 2005, the ACCC decided that the transactions are unlikely to substantially lessen competition for first-release film exhibition in the Perth, Sydney and Brisbane metropolitan areas.
Following the ACCC's consideration of the proposed transactions, the parties offered the ACCC a withdrawal of the section 87B Undertaking relating to the joint operation of the Brisbane Regent and Myer cinema complexes. The ACCC accepted the withdrawal on 22 December 2005.