Welcome to Australian Competition Law

rss

OVERVIEW

THE ACT

READING ROOM

NEWS

CASES

REPORTS

 

Latest Australian Competition Law News and Commentary

Easter eggs

16 November 2018 - ACCC will not oppose Santos-Quadrant deal

The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Quadrant Energy Holdings Pty Lt by Santos Limited. Both actively produce and supply natural gas and crude oil in WA and jointly own certain domestic gas processing facilities.

In its media release the ACCC stated that it considered it unlikely the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in supply of gas to domestic customers in WA; importantly, it would 'continue to face strong competition from a range of suppliers' including Chevron and Woodside.

View merger register for more details.

 

Horses racing

15 November 2018 - ACCC will not oppose Punters' acquisition of Racenet

The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Racing Internet Services Pty Ltd (Racenet) but Punters Paradise Pty Ltd (Punters). Punters is a subsidiary of News Corp Australia Investments Pty Ltd. Both Punters and Racenet are digital platforms providing racing news. The ACCC considered that there were numerous alternative sources of online racing news and it was unlikely the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition.

View media release and merger register for more details.

 

Railway track

15 November 2018 - ACCC will not oppose Vossloh Austrak deal

The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Austrak by Vossloh Australia. Both are suppliers of rail track components. There is no horizontal overlap between products supplied; the ACCC focussed on vertical links, considering whether the acquisition would enable the combined entity to 'lessen competition in either turnouts or fastenings by foreclosing its rivals'. The ACCC concluded existing manufacturers had capacity to expand output with the result that they would operate as a constraint on the merged entity.

View media release and merger register for more details.

 

Lady justice

12 November 2018 - Federal Court dismisses Obeid appeal against refusal to grant suppression order

The Federal Court has dismissed an application by Moses Obeid for leave to appeal against the Court's decision to refuse to grant a suppression order over part of its reasons for decision in an alleged bid rigging case.

The Federal Court dismissed the ACCC's bid rigging proceedings, but the ACCC filed an appeal on 3 August 2018 (yet to be heard).

As a result of this decision the judgment of 6 July 2018 is no longer subject to a suppression order.

See ACCC media release.

See also:

 

Press reporter and photographer

8 November 2018 - ACCC will not oppose Nine-Fairfax merger

The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed merger between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media.

In its media release the ACCC noted that it received more than 1,000 submissions as part of an 'extensive' investigation which raised 'extremely complex issues', but ultimately concluded that the 'proposed merger was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market'.

View merger register for more details.

Plenty of media - from the Fairfax/Nine group: Max Mason, 'ACCC won't oppose merger of Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment' (AFR, 8 November 2018), Jennifer Duke, 'Competition regulator gives green light to Nine-Fairfax merger' (SMH, 8 November 2018), Rosemarie Lentini, 'ACCC won’t oppose Nine-Fairfax merger' (Nine, 8 November 2018).

Other media: AAP, 'ACCC gives Nine, Fairfax merger the tick' (SBS News, 8 November 2018), Alex Druce (AAP), '$4B Nine, Fairfax merger clears ACCC hurdle' (The West Australian, 8 November 2018), Luke Henriques-Gomes and Amanda Meade, 'ACCC says it won't oppose Nine Fairfax takeover' (The Guardian, 8 November 2018) and plenty behind The Australian's paywall.

 

Handshake deal

6 November 2018 - Public competition assessment published in relation to proposed acquisition of Woolworths service stations by BP

The ACCC has published a Public Competition Assessment of the proposed acquisition by BP of Woolworths' retail service station sites; it opposed this proposed acquisition in December 2017.

BP - proposed acquisition of Woolworths' retail service station sites (published 6 November 2018)

This is the fourth Public Competition Assessment published this year. The other were:

Sydney Transport Partners Consortium (including Transurban) - proposed acquisition of WestConnex interest (published 11 October 2018; acquisition not opposed by the ACCC on 30 August 2018, subject to court enforceable undertakings)

Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of assets from Milemaker Petroleum (published 25 July 2018; acquisition not opposed by the ACCC on 4 May 2017)

Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd proposes to acquire Murray Goulburn's operating assets (published 17 May 2018; acquisition not opposed by the ACCC on 4 April 2018 subject to court enforceable undertaking)

This is an improvement on the single PCA published in 2017 but short of the six published in 2016. See the PCA home page for details.

 

Corporate women

6 November 2018 - Gender Disparity in Cartel Conduct

Andrew Christopher and Sarah Andrews have a paper in the latest ABLR discussing gender disparity, both in Australia and internationally, in relation to individuals involved in cartel conduct. Why do women engage in cartel conduct less often than men? You'll need to read it to find out:

Andrew Christopher and Sarah Andrews, 'Gender Disparity in Cartel Conduct' (2018) 46 ABLR 238 (subscription required)

 

Signposts representing guidlines or directions

1 November 2018 - ACCC Guidelines

Last week the ACCC released its latest set of updated Guidelines:

These add to the set of updated Guidelines published on 31 August 2018:

 

Petrol pump

31 October 2018 - PM demands action from ACCC on petrol prices

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has demanded 'answers' from the ACCC on rising fuel prices, saying in a local radio interview that he was "expecting some action".

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, was on the media circuit yesterday, addressing the demands, highlighting the key problem as the 'overseas oil prices and the exchange rate' and (again) expressing the view that proposed divestiture powers were not likely to 'deal with the issue'.

See:

See also the ACCC's second petrol industry report, released last week, and assoicated media release: Consumers have more options to shop around for petrol.

 

5G network diagram

30 October 2018 - Sims: Challenges and opportunities in a 5G world

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, gave a speech at RadComms 2018 today focussing on the impact of the rollout of 5G networks in Australia.

See ACCC, 'Challenges and opportunities in a 5G world' (Media release, 30 October 2018)

See Rod Sims, 'Competition & the 5G spectrum' (ACMA RadComms 2018, 30 October 2018)

 

Google

26 October 2018 - Google's second submission to digital platforms inquiry

Google's second submission to the ACCC's Digital Platforms Inquiry has been published. The 9-page submission covers the following:

"1. How Google Search benefits users, advertisers and publishers.

2. Google’s incentives to be transparent about how its search algorithms work.

3. The highly competitive landscape in which Google’s advertising technologies compete.

4. Early proposals for regulatory reform arising through the Inquiry.

The ACCC's preliminary preport is due to be submitted to the Treasurer by 3 December 2018.

All submissions can be viewed on the Digital Platforms Inquiry Submissions page.

 

Rod Sims: source ACCC webste

25 October 2018 - Rod Sims re-appointed ACCC Chair until 2022

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, has been re-appointed for a third term. Sims was originally appointed in 2011 and his current term was due to expire in mid-2019; the re-appointment will see him remain in the position until (at least) 2022. Assuming Sims completes this term he will become the longest serving ACCC/TPC Chair (the first Chair of the TPC, Ron Bannerman, held the role for 10 years)
ACCC Chairs

See Government media release: The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, 'Government extends term of the ACCC Chair' (25 October 2018)

See also:

 

  More news

 

Hot topics

 
 
 
     

Images copyright: Images in the Hot Topic section (left column): male runner on starting blocks courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; gas pump filling nozzles courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net and price magnifier definition means promotions and savings courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.(right column): business man and stock graph report courtesy of watcharakun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; vacations computer key courtesy of Stuart Miles (Image ID: 10091676) at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; handshaking courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

View Harper Bills