Mergers

ACCC authorises Gumtree’s acquisition of Carsguide and Autotrader

The ACCC has granted unconditional merger authorisation to Gumtree’s proposed acquisition of Cox Australia Media Solutions (Cox Media), allowing Gumtree Cars to be combined with Cox Media’s Carsguide and Autotrader sites.

“We authorised this merger because we concluded it was not likely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition, including in the supply of online automotive classifieds in Australia. Therefore it was not necessary to consider the public benefit limb of the authorisation test,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Ventia’s proposed acquisition of Broadspectrum not opposed

The ACCC has announced that it will not oppose Ventia’s proposed acquisition of Broadspectrum. Ventia is a 50/50 partnership between CIMIC Group Limited (ASX:CIM) and funds management firm Apollo Global Management, LLC.

Ventia and Broadspectrum are both providers of infrastructure services. The ACCC’s review focused on three types of infrastructure services: design and construction, operation and maintenance and facilities management.

Asahi-CUB deal subject to cider and beer divestments

The Asahi Group Holdings Ltd’s (Asahi) proposed acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) will not be opposed after Asahi has undertaken to divest two of its beer brands and three of its cider brands.

The brands to be sold are the Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green cider brands and the Stella Artois and Beck’s beer brands. The future buyer or buyers of these assets will need to be approved by the ACCC.

Bunnings’ Adelaide Tools acquisition not opposed

The proposed acquisition of Adelaide Tools and Oaklands Mower Centre by Bunnings Group won’t be opposed, after the ACCC decided the transaction isn’t likely to substantially lessen competition.

The ACCC carefully assessed the acquisition’s impact in the Adelaide metropolitan area, given the competition between Bunnings and Adelaide Tools for retail supply of tools and equipment in Adelaide, amid concerns it might lessen competition.

Bauer Media's proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines not opposed

The ACCC will not oppose Bauer Media’s proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines (ASX:SWM), after deciding the transaction was not likely to substantially lessen competition in relevant markets.

Bauer Media and Pacific Magazines overlap in the publication of print and digital magazines and in content published on digital platforms.

The ACCC carefully assessed the impact of the merger, given the close competition between the parties’ key print magazines, Bauer’s Woman’s Day and Take 5, and Pacific Magazines’ New Idea and That’s Life!.

ACCC will not oppose Coles’ proposed acquisition of Jewel Fine Foods

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Jewel Fine Foods (in voluntary administration) by Chef Fresh Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Coles Group.

Jewel Fine Foods (Jewel), which has been in voluntary administration since April 2019, manufactures a range of branded and private-label chilled ready meals. Coles does not currently manufacture these products, but is Jewel’s major customer.

ACCC will not appeal Federal Court’s decision to allow TPG-Vodafone merger

The ACCC will not appeal the Federal Court’s recent decision that the proposed merger between TPG Telecom (ASX: TPM) and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (ASX: HTA) would not substantially lessen competition.

The ACCC has concluded that it does not have grounds for appeal, which would require the ACCC to establish an error of law by the judge.

Merger control framework shapes our society

Competition authorities around the world must work together to meet significant and evolving challenges in global markets, and consider whether traditional approaches to assessing mergers remained fit for purpose, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said tonight.

Mr Sims, speaking at a gala dinner in Melbourne for the International Competition Network’s merger workshop, said the meteoric expansion of large digital platforms, much driven by acquisitions, was one of many challenges confronting global competition authorities.

Consultation on Asahi’s proposed beer and cider divestments

The ACCC is seeking views on a divestment undertaking offered by Asahi in relation to its proposed acquisition of Carlton United Breweries (CUB).

Asahi’s proposed undertaking seeks to address the competition concerns identified by the ACCC in its statement of issues published on 12 December 2019, which raised preliminary competition concerns in relation to cider and beer.