Home Page / Merger cases

Merger cases, authorisations and clearances

Competition cases - alphabetical Australian competition cases - chronological Current Australian competition law cases

Recent Australian Merger Cases

There have been very few merger cases to reach the courts in Australia. In relation to the current (substantial lessening of competition) test there have been only two cases and none have gone to the High Court. The merger tests in Australia have applied as follows:

1974-1977: effect of substantial lessening of competition

1977-1992: result in or substantially strengthen a 'position to control or dominate a market'

1993- current: effect (or likely effect) of substantially lessening competition

For more detail on the history of the merger law see merger page.

Cases relating to current (competition test) provision (1993 - current)

Australian Gas Light Company v ACCC (No 3) [2003] FCA 1525
AGL sought (and obtained) declaration proposed merger would not contravene Act.

ACCC v Metcash Trading Limited [2011] FCA 967; [2011] FCAFC 151 (appeal)
ACCC alleged proposed Metcash acquisition of Franklins stores would contravene the Act. They failed at first instance and again on appeal to the full Federal Court; no further appeal was made.

Cases relating to previous (dominance) merger provision (1977-1992)

Arnotts Limited v TPC (1990) ATPR para 41-061; (1990) 97 ALR 555; (1990) 24 FCR 313
Merger - market definition (different types of biscuits)

TPC v Australia Meat Holidngs Pty Ltd (1988) 83 ALR 299
Focus on market definition

QIW Retailers Ltd v Davids Holdings (1993) ATPR 41-226
Mergers; Trade Practices Economics

Davids Holdings v Attorney-General (1994) 49 FCR 211
The unsuccessful appeal from QIW v Davids

 

Merger clearance decisions

There is no mandatory notification regime for mergers in Australia. However, parties frequently notify the ACCC on a voluntary basis of any proposal to merge and the ACCC will advise parties whether or not it proposes to to challenge the merger. In some cases this involves public consultation following the release of a 'Statement of Issues'. In significant cases the ACCC will also issue a Public Competition Assessment, detailing its reasons for clearing, opposing or clearing a merger subject to conditions. Details of all mergers reviewed are contained in a public register. The following lists some of the more significant 'informal' merger assessments conducted by the ACCC - it is not intended to be exhaustive.

For a list of current and completed ACCC merger reviews see the merger register.

2017

Pending

Please note that this is not a complete list of pending reviews; see the External linkmerger register for more.

External linkAustralian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd - proposed acquitiion of InterGrain Pty Ltd
Pending: SoI issued on 31 March 2017. Proposed announcement of final decision: 25 May
Commenced: 10 January 2017
ACCC summary: 'Australian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd (AGT) intends to purchase all of the shares in InterGrain, from the Western Australian Government (through the Western Australian Agricultural Authority) and Grains Research and Development Corporation.'
Industry: Agriculture

External linkBP - proposed acquisition of Woolworths' petrol retail sites
Pending: Closing date for submissions from interested parties: 14 April 2017. No provision date for announcement of findings available at this stage.
Commenced: 10 March 2017
Industry: Petrol stations

External linkCaltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of assets from Milemaker Petroleum
Pending: SoI released 16 March 2017 (preliminary SLC concerns indicated); proposed announcement 20 April 2017
Commenced: 17 November 2016
ACCC summary: Caltex proposes to acquire 45 retail service stations and 1 site under development in Victoria from Milemaker Petroleum
Industry: Fuel service stations

External linkDowDuPont Inc - proposed acquisition of EI du Pont de Nemours and Company and The Dow Chemical Company
Pending: SoI released 3 November 2016; proposed announcement on 2 February postponed
Commenced: 18 July 2016
ACCC summary: The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) propose to merge their two companies and spin the merged entity off into three separate companies focusing on Agriculture, Material Science and Speciality Products.
Industry: Agriculture products

Not opposed

External linkPMP - proposed acquisition

Not opposed: 17 February 2017 (Statement of Issues 22 November 2016) (PCA pending)
Commenced: 2 November 2016
Industry: Printing

Withdrawn/discontinued

External linkSouth32 Limited - proposed acquisition of Metropolitan Collieries Pty Ltd
Discontinued: 18 April 2017 after South32 announced it would not proceed with proposed acquisition (followed SoI which was issued on 8 February 2017)
Commenced: 2 December 2016
Industry: Coal mining

External linkTabcorp Holdings and Tatts Group - proposed merger

Withdrawn: Following release of SoI request for informal review withdrawn and application made to Tribunal for authorisation
ACCC consideration:
SoI released 9 March 2017 (submissions due 24 March; proposed decision 4 May)
Commenced: 25 November 2016
ACCC summary: Tabcorp Holdings Limited (Tabcorp) and Tatts Group Limited (Tatts) propose to merge. Tabcorp and Tatts both operate off-course totalisators and retail wagering networks (in different states and territories) and online wagering businesses. Tabcorp and Tatts both supply gaming and promotional management systems and services to gaming venues and gaming monitoring services to state governments.
Industry:
Gaming and wagering

 

2016

See also See Richard L'Estrange, '2016: The Year in Mergers' (In Competition,King & Wood Mallesons, 28 March 2017)

Completed acquisitions

External linkPrimary Health Care Limited - acquisition of pathology assets previously operated by Healthscope in Queensland
Not opposed subject to undertakings
Investigation discontinued following acceptance of court enforceable divestiture undertakings: 16 June 2016
Completed acquisition: the acquisition took place on 2 February 2015; the parties did not notify the ACCC. The ACCC became aware of the acquisition and commenced investigation on 13 February.
ACCC summary: 'Primary Health Care acquired certain pathology assets previously operated by Healthscope in Queensland.'
Industry: Pathology

Discontinued

External linkLink Administration Holdings Limited - possible acquisition of Superannuation Corporation Administration (trading as Pillar)
Pending:
SoI released 13 October 2016; Discontinued 2 December 2015
Commenced: 17 August 2016
ACCC summary: The NSW Government has commenced a competitive process for the sale of Superannuation Corporation Administration (trading as Pillar) and has invited expressions of interest. Link Administration Holdings Limited is one party who expressed an interest and is considering whether to submit a bid for Pillar.
Industry: Superannuation administration

Not opposed

External linkAnheuser-Busch InBev - proposed acquisition of SABMiller plc
Not opposed
Commenced 18 January 2016; completed 5 May 2016
Market inquiries: market inquiries letter sent 22 January; submissions due by 15 Feb 2016
Industry: Beer
News: John Durie, 'ACCC to formally investigate Anheuser Busch InBev, SABMiller merger' (The AUstralian, Business Review, 25 January 2016), Eli Greenblat, 'Inquiries brewing over beer merger (The Australian, Business REview, 26 January 2016) and Simon Evans, 'Froth around Corona to top ACCC's beer mega-merger review' (SMH, 25 January 2016).

External linkColes - proposed acquisition of 9 Supabarn supermarkets
Not opposed (10 March 2016)
(ACCC decision originally expected 26 November 2015; extended at request of parties)
Commenced 22 June 2015; Market inquiries letter sent 25 June; Submissions due 20 July 2015
Statement of Issues released 11 September 2015 (see media release). Submissions due 1 October.
Competitoin analysis: "With the revisions to the proposed acquisition, Supabarn would retain a material presence in Canberra after the acquisition completes. Therefore, the ACCC concluded that the final proposed acquisition would be unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition for supermarket retailing in the Canberra region. " (more detailed analysis on ACCC register) - the original proposal to acquire 9 Supabarn supermarkets was revised to remove problematic stores. The revised proposal, which has not been opposed by the ACCC, involves the proposed acquisition of five stores.
Industry:
Supermarkets

External linkConsortium comprising Brookfield, Qube & Others - proposed acquisition of Asciano Limited
Approved (21 July 2016) (media release)
Commenced 30 March 2016; Statement of Issues released 26 May 2016
(submissions due 10 June)
Market inquiries: market inquiries letter sent 30 March; submissions due by 18 April 2016
Industry: Infrastructure
News: Jenny Wiggins, 'ACCC raises fresh questions over $9 billion Asciano deal' (SMH, 4 April 2016); John Durie, 'Can Metcash nail the HTH deal?' (The Australian, 12 July 2016), James Thomson, 'ACCC approves Asciano takeover' (AFR, 21 July 2016) and David Palmer, 'ACCC green lights Qube and Brookfield's takeover of Asciano' (The Australian, 21 July 2016).

External linkConsortium comprising IFM, APG and MIRA - proposed acquisition of the Port of Melbourne
Not opposed 11 August 2016
Commenced 1 June 2016
ACCC summary: 'The Victorian Government intends to privatise the Port of Melbourne by way of a 50 year lease (the Lease). A consortium comprising IFM Investors Pty Ltd (IFM), APG Asset Management N.V. (APG) and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) (together, IFM Consortium) proposes to acquire the Lease. IFM has minority interests in Port Botany, Port Kembla and Port of Brisbane. APG and MIRA have a range of indirect interests of less than 5 per cent in port-related businesses.'
Industry: Ports
Media: Daniel Palmer, 'ACCC delays Port of Melbourne decision' (The Australian, 21 July 2016)

External linkConsortium comprising QIC, GIP and Borealis - proposed acquisition of the Port of Melbourne
Not opposed 11 August 2016
Commenced 24 June 2016
ACCC summary: 'The Victorian Government intends to privatise the Port of Melbourne by way of a 50 year lease (the Lease). A consortium comprising QIC Private Capital Pty Ltd, GIM Advisory Services, LLC and Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc. proposes to acquire the Lease.'
Industry: Ports

External linkGrainCorp Ltd - proposed acquisition of Cargill Australia LImited's bulk handling and storage facility in Gilgandra, NSW
Not opposed: 6 October 2016
Commenced: 17 August 2016
Industry: Grain

External linkJB Hi-Fi - proposed acquisition of The Good Guys Discount Warehouses (Australia) Pty Ltd
Not opposed: 11 August 2016
Commenced 4 August 2016; market inquiries letter sent
ACCC summary: 'JB Hi-Fi is proposing to acquire the Good Guys Discount Warehouses (Australia) Pty Ltd and The Muir Finance Company Pty Ltd, trading as the Good Guys (the Good Guys). JB Hi-Fi and the Good Guys are both national retailers of consumer electronics and home appliances. JB Hi-Fi and the Good Guys each operate a network of bricks and mortar stores, as well as online stores.'
Industry: Domestic appliance & electrical goods retailing

External linkNews Corporation - proposed acquisition of APN News & Media Limited's Australian Regional Media division - ARM
Pending:
SoI released 6 October 2016; not opposed on 8 December 2016
Commenced: 1 August 2016
ACCC summary: News Corporation proposes to acquire the Australian Regional Media business from Australian Provincial Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of APN News & Media Limited.
Industry: Media
Media: Darren Davidson, 'Diversity key to APN-News deal, says ACCC boss Rod Sims' (The Australian, 7 October 2016)

External linkPact Group Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of Power Plastics Pty Ltd
Not opposed: 18 February 2016
Commenced: 14 December 2015
Industry: Plastics

External linkSeven West Media Limited - proposed acquisition of The Sunday Times publication and website from News Limited
Not opposed: 15 September 2016
Commenced 27 May 2016; Statement of Issues released 4 August 2016
ACCC summary: 'Seven West Media Limited (SWM) proposes to acquire The Sunday Times and perthnow.com.au from News Limited (News). SWM owns The West Australian, The Weekend West and thewest.com.au and a range of other media assets. News is the publisher of various print media and online sites throughout Australia including The Australian and news.com.au. The parties also propose to enter into content sharing arrangements. For further information please see the Statement of Issues.'
Industry: Newspaper and web media
News: 'Sunday Times sale to The West Australian owner Seven West Media receives ACCC approval' (ABC News, 15 September 2016), Lucy Battersby, 'ACCC lets Seven West buy News Corp's Perth paper as readers, advertisers go online' (SMH, 15 September 2016), John Durie and Daniel Palmer, 'ACCC clears Seven West’s acquisition of West Australian media outlets' (The Australian, 15 September 2016), Jake Mitchell, 'Seven West ‘worthy custodians’ of Perth’s The Sunday Times' (The Australian, 16 September 2016).

External linkVocus Communications Ltd - proposed acquisition of Nextgen Group Pty Ltd
Not opposed (22 September 2016)
Commenced 25 July 2016; market inquiries letter sent
ACCC summary: 'Vocus Communications Limited (Vocus) proposes to acquire Nextgen Group Pty Ltd and two development projects; the Australian Singapore Cable and the North West Cable System (together Nextgen). Nextgen's data centre business, Metronode, is not part of the transaction.'
Industry: Telecommunications
Media: Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Joyce Moullakis, 'ACCC sets timetable for Vocus Communications/Nextgen deal' (AFR, 25 July 2016)

Not opposed subject to undertakings

External linkMetcash - proposed acquisition of Home Timber and Hardware Group
Not opposed subject to undertakings (21 July 2016)
Commenced 6 May 2016; Market inquiries letter sent 6 May; Draft undertaking supplied by Metchash in July; ACCC calls for comments on draft undertaking with submissions due by 12 July)
ACCC summary: 'Metcash is proposing to acquire the Home Timber and Hardware Group (HTH). Both parties have wholesale and retail operations in the hardware and home improvement industry. HTH is currently owned by Woolworths, which is conducting a sale process in respect of the HTH and the Masters hardware businesses.'
Industry: Hardware and home improvement
Q&A:
ACCC's Q&A page on Metcash/HTH
News: Sue Mitchell, 'ACCC seeking feedback on Metcash undertakings' (5 July 2016), Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Joyce Moulakis, 'Metcash secures ACCC approval for Home Timber and Hardware Group' (AFR, 21 July 2016) and David Palmer, 'ACCC clears path for Metcash's hardware extension' (The Australian, 21 July 2016).

Withdrawn

External linkAurizon Operations Limited - proposed acquisition of Glencore Rail (NSW) Pty Ltd
Pending: SoI issued 6 October 2016; Withdrawn October 2016
Commenced: 4 August 2016
Industry: Rail
Related: Pacific National merger register page
Media:
John Durie, 'The ACCC stays on track with release of statements of issues' (The Australian, 6 October 2016)

External linkDYWIDAG-Systems International Group - proposed acquisition of Jennmar Australia
Withdrawn (20 July 2016)
Commenced 29 February 2016; Statement of Issues released 21 April 2016
ACCC summary: 'DYWIDAG-Systems International Group (DSI) proposes to acquire the Jennmar Australia ground support business from Frank Calandra, Inc.'
Industry: Steel manufacturing

External linkPacific National - Proposed acquisition of certain assets and interests of Glencore Rail
Pending: SoI issued 6 October 2016; final decision expected 15 December 2016
Commenced: 15 August 2016
Industry: Rail
Related: Aurizon merger register page
Media:
John Durie, 'The ACCC stays on track with release of statements of issues' (The Australian, 6 October 2016).

External linkThe Borg Group - proposed acquisition of MDF manufacturing assets of Alpine MDF Industries Pty Ltd
Discontinued on 17 August after Borg Group advised proposed acquisition would not be proceeding.
Commenced: 26 April
Statement of Issues: 7 July
ACCC summary: 'Borg proposes to acquire the medium density fibreboard manufacturing plant and certain other assets located in Wangaratta, Victoria, from Alpine MDF Industries Pty Ltd (Alpine). Alpine is owned by Sumitomo Forestry Company Ltd of Tokyo, Japan.'
Industry: Medium density fibreboard

2015

Completed acquisitions

External linkSonic Healthcare Limited - proposed acquisition of Adelaide Pathology Partners (APP)
Pending: no anticipated announcement date
Commenced 9 November 2015
Sonic completed the acquisition on 9 December 2015; no anticipated decision date for ACCC review
ACCC summary: The ACCC is urgently investigating the proposed acquisition by Sonic Healthcare Limited (Sonic), operating as Clinpath Pty Limited, of Adelaide Pathology Partners (APP). Sonic and APP both supply pathology services in South Australia.
Industry: Pathology services

Opposed

External linkGPC Asia Pacific Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of Covs Parts from Automotive Holdings Group Limited
Opposed: 17 December 2015
Commenced: 26 August 2015
Statement of Issues released: 21 October 2015 (submissions due by 5 November)
ACCC summary: 'GPC is proposing to acquire the Covs Parts business from Automotive Holdings Group Limited'
Industry: Automotive Parts

External linkSea Swift Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of Toll Marine Logistics Australia
Opposed (PCA assessment in due course)
Commenced: 9 December 2014; SoI published 19 February; submissions due 13 March 2015; opposed on 9 July 2015 (media release)
ACCC summary: 'Sea Swift proposes to acquire certain assets of Toll Marine Logistics' sea-borne freight business in the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland. As part of the proposed transaction, Toll Marine Logistics proposes to acquire a 20% shareholding in Sea Swift.'
Industry: Coastal and community shipping
Authorisation: parties applied for authorisation (subsequently granted)

Not opposed subject to undertakings

External linkAustralian Amalgamated Terminals Pty Ltd (AAT) - proposed acquisition of Automotive and Ro-Ro Terminal at the Port of Fremantle
Not opposed subject to undertakings (23 April 2015)
Commenced 23 December 2014; draft undertakings proferred 8 April; completed 23 April.
Public Competition Assessment released 14 October 2015
Industy: Port terminal
See ACCC Press Release

External linkFederation Centres and Novion Property Group - proposed merger
Not opposed subject to undertakings (21 May 2015)
Public competition assessment released 22 December 2015
Commenced 4 February 2015; submissions close 25 February; original provisional date for assessment (2 April) delayed on 1 April to allow parties to provide more information'. On 15 April Novion and Federation announce discussions with ACCC re: possible divestment options. On 21 May ACCC announce merger not opposed subject to undertakings. PCA to be issued in due course.
ACCC summary: 'Federation Limited and Federation Centres Limited as Responsible Entity of Federation Centres Trust No. 1 and Novion Limited and Novion RE Limited propose to merge via schemes of arrangement. Both entities own and manage a large number of shopping centres throughout Australia.'
Industry: Real estate
Undertaking: Federation Centres' Undertaking
Undertaking:
Novion Property Group's Undertaking
Media:
Greg Brown, 'ACCC extends review of Novion-Federation deal' (The Australian, 7 April 2015)
See ACCC Press release

External linkGlaxoSmithKline plc - proposed acquisition of human vaccines business of Novartis AG
Not opposed subject to undertakings (29 January 2015)
Commenced 8 October 2014; completed 29 January 2015. No SOI issued
ACCC summary: 'GlaxoSmithKline proposes to acquire Novartis AG's human vaccines business. In Australia, the human vaccines currently supplied by Novartis AG are Bexsero, Menevo and Rabipur.'
Industry: Vaccines

External linkNordic Capital Fund VII - proposed acquisition of Max-Inf Holdings Limited
Not opposed subject to undertakings (18 December 2015)
Commenced: 12 November 2015 (draft s 87B undertakings offered by parties)
Industry: Child restraint systems

External linkIron Mountain Incorporated - proposed acquisition of Recall Holdings Limited
Not opposed subject to undertakings
Commenced: 25 August 2015; completed 31 March 2016
Statement of issues released: 5 November 2015 (submissions due by 19 November)
Public Competition Asssessment: released 19 Paril 2016
ACCC summary: Iron Mountain Incorporated proposes to acquire Recall Holdings Limited. Both parties provide services relating to the storage, protection, retrieval and disposal of paper and digital records.
Industry: Records and data management services

External linkStaples Inc - proposed acquisition of Office Depot Inc (trading as OfficeMax)
Not opposed (ACCC media release 13 August 2015)
Commenced: 24 April 2015
ACCC summary: 'Staples, Inc. proposes to acquire Office Depot, Inc. Staples Inc.'s operating subsidiary in Australia is Staples Australia Pty Limited. Office Depot Inc.'s operating subsidiary in Australia is OfficeMax Australia Limited.'
Industry:
Office supplies

External linkVictoria Quay International RoRo Terminal Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of Automotive and Ro-Ro Terminal at the Port of Fremantle
Not opposed subject to undertakings (2 April 2015)
Public competition assessment released 14 October 2015
Commenced 23 December 2014; completed 2 April 2015 (initial proposed decision date delayed at request of parties)
ACCC summary: Victoria Quay International RoRo Terminal Pty Ltd (VQIRT) proposes to acquire the long term lease to develop the Fremantle Automotive and RoRo Terminal at the Port of Fremantle (the proposed acquisition), and operate the terminal on an open access basis for an expected 20-year term.
Industry: Port Terminal

Not opposed

External linkChannel 7 and Foxtel proposed joint venture
Not opposed (2 March 2015)
Commenced 15 December 2014; market inquiries letter sent 17 December; submissions closed 26 Jan; proposed decision date of 26 Feb 2015 delayed to allow parties to provide further information to ACCC
ACCC summary: 'Seven and Foxtel propose to enter into a joint venture to collectively produce and supply a standalone subscription video on demand service, marketed as "Presto Entertainment".'
Industry: Media

External linkFedEx Corporation - proposed acquisition of TNT Express
Not opposed (26 November 2015)
Commenced: 6 August 2015
ACCC summary: 'FedEx Corporation (FedEx), through its wholly-owned subsidiary FedEx Acquisition B.V., proposes to acquire all of the issued and oustanding ordinary shares in TNT Express N.V (TNT). Within Australia, both FedEx and TNT provide interational delivery and freight services'. See media release.
Industry: 
Logistics

External linkFoxtel - proposed acquisition arrangements with Ten Network Holdings Ltd
Not opposed: 22 October 2015
Commenced: 25 June 2015
Statement of Issues
released: 14 September 2015
Public Competition Assessment released: 2 March 2016
ACCC summary: 'Foxtel proposes to acquire up to 15% of Ten while Ten proposes to acquire a 24.99% stake in Multi Channel Network (MCN, a supplier of advertising opportunities on subscription television channels) and will have an option to acquire 10% of Presto TV.'
Industry: Media
Media: eg, Darren Davidson, 'ACCC to rule on Foxtel's Ten stake purchase' (The Australian, 7 September 2015) and Darren Davidson, 'ACCC delays Foxtel-Ten decision to next week' (The Australian, 9 September 2015).

External linkJBS USA Holdings Inc - proposed acquisition of Australian Consolidated Food Investments Pty Ltd (Primo Smallgoods)
Not opposed (6 February 2015)
Commenced: 25 November 2014; completed 6 February 2015. No SOI issued
ACCC summary: 'JBS USA Holdings Inc proposed to acquire Australian Consolidated Food Investments Pty Ltd, which trades as Primo Smallgoods. JBS is primarily a cattle and beef processor. Primo produces smallgoods under brand names including Primo and Hans.'
Industry:
Meat and meat processing

External linkMacquarie Bank Ltd - proposed acquisition of Esanda Dealer Finance business
Not opposed (17 September 2015)
Commenced: 21 July 2015
ACCC summary: 'Macquarie Bank is proposing to acquire the Esanda Dealer Finance business which is currently owned and operated by ANZ.'
Industry: Finance facilities

External linkMacquarie Radio Network Limited (MRN) - proposed acquisition of the radio assets of Fairfax Media Limited (FML) and FML's proposed acquisition of 54.5% of MRN
Not opposed (27 February 2015)
Commenced 13 January 2015; market inquiries letter sent 16 January 2015; submissions closed 3 Feb
ACCC summary: 'Macquarie Radio Network Limited (MRN) proposes to acquire the radio assets of Fairfax Media Limited (FML). FML proposes to acquire a 54.5% interest in MRN.'
Industry: Media

External linkNBN Co Ltd - proposed acquisition of assets of Singtel Optus Pty Ltd
Not opposed (28 August 2015; decision announced at the same time of decision in relation to NBN Co's authorisation application)
Commenced 12 February 2015
ACCC summary: 'The ACCC is considering the NBN Co Limited (NBN Co) proposal to acquire certain assets of SingTel Optus Pty Ltd and its related entities (Optus) that form part of Optus's hybrid fibre coaxial network. The proposed acquisition forms part of a broader transaction which includes contractual arrangements for which NBN Co is seeking authorisation. The ACCC will consider the acquisition in conjunction with the authorisation application. ...'
Industry: Telecommunications

External linkNovartis AG - proposed acquisition of oncology products from GlaxoSmithKline plc
Not opposed (20 February 2015)
Commenced 1 October 2014; decision delayed at request of parties to provide further information; final decision 6 February 2015. No SOI issued.
ACCC summary: 'Novartis AG proposes to purchase certain oncology products from GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK). ...'
Industry: Pharmaceuticals

External linkPfizer Inc - proposed acquisition of Hospira Inc
Not opposed (13 August - see ACCC media release)
Commenced 26 May 2015; market inquiries letter sent 29 May
Industry: Pharmaceuticals

External linkRoyal Dutch Shell plc - proposed acquisition of BG Group plc
Not opposed: 19 November 2015
Commenced 11 June 2015
Statement of issues released 17 September 2015
On 3 August 2015 proposed decision date delayed to allow ACCC additional time to consider acquisition
ACCC summary: 'Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) proposes to acquire BG Group plc (BG). Both Shell and BG are global producers of oil and gas, including gas production in Australia. Shell has a 50% interest in the Arrow Energy Pty Ltd joint venture (PetroChina has the other 50%). BG wholly owns QGC Pty Limited.'
Industry: Oil and gas

External linkTPG Telecom Limited - proposed acquisition of iiNet Limited
Not opposed (20 August 2015 - see ACCC media release)
Commenced monitoring on: 13 March 2015; commenced informal review 2 April 2015
Statement of Issues released: 11 June 2015 (submissions due 2 July 2015)
Public Competition Assessment released 22 December 2015
Industry: Telecommunications

External linkTransurban consortium - proposed acquisition of BrisConnections including the AirportLinkM7 toll road in Brisbane
Not opposed (26 November 2015)
Commenced 16 October 2015; submissions due 30 October 2015
ACCC summary: 'A Transurban consortium, comprised of Transurban, AustralianSuper Pty Ltd and Tawreed Investments, is proposing to acquire BrisConnections including the AirportLinkM7 toll road in Brisbane, which is currently in receivership.'
Industry: Toll Roads

External linkVIP Steel Packaging Pty Ltd proposed acquisition of certain steel drum assets from National Can Industries Pty Ltd
Not opposed (30 April 2015)
Commenced 1 April 2015; final decision 30 April 2015. No SOI issued.
ACCC summary: 'VIP Steel Packaging Pty Ltd (VIP Steel) proposed to acquire certain large steel drum assets from National Can Industries (NCI) (the proposed acquisition).'
Industry: Steel drums
Commentary: See, eg, Michael Corrigan and Ian Reynolds, 'When will the ACCC clear a 'failing firm' transaction?' (Clayton Utz, 6 May 2015)

External linkWoodside Energy Limited - proposed acquisition of Apache Corporation's interests in the Wheatstone, Balnaves and Kitimat Projects
Not opposed (5 March 2015)
Commenced 24 December 2014; market inquiries letter sent 12 January; submissions closed 2 Feb; ACCC requested further information on 5 Feb 2015; merger parties provided further information 10 February 2015.
ACCC summary: 'Woodside proposes to acquire interests held by Apache Corporation and its subsidiaries in certain petroleum and natural gas assets, including the Wheatstone, Balnaves and Kitimat Projects.'
Industry: Energy

Withdrawn or discontinued

External linkAPA Group proposed acquisition of EnergyAustralia's Iona Gas Plant
Withdrawn: review terminated after another party entered into agreement to purchase Iona
Commenced 14 August 2015
Statement of Issues released on 2 October 2015 (submissions due 16 October)
ACCC summary: 'EnergyAustralia is currently conducting a sale process for its Iona Gas Plant. The successful bidder in the sale process will inherit a contract with EnergyAustralia to secure EnergyAustralia's continuing use of the Iona facility. As a result of the proposed acquisition, APA would operate Iona.'
Industry: Gas Storage

External linkA consortium comprising Qube Holdings Limited, Global Infrastructure Management, LLC and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board - proposed acquisition of Asciano Limited
Discontinued (30 March 2016; this followed new agreement - new review commenced 30 March 2016)
Commenced: 14 November 2015
Submissions: closed 18 December 2015
ACCC summary: 'Qube Holdings Limited (Qube), Global Infrastructure Management, LLC (GIP) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have formed a consortium through which: Qube proposes to acquire from Asciano Limited (Asciano) the Patrick Container Terminals business and the Asciano 50% interest in Australian Amalgamated Terminals Ltd; and GIP and CPPIB propose to acquire the shares in the capital of Asciano. '
Industry: Infrastructure

External linkBrookfield consortium - proposed acquisition of Asciano Limited
Discontinued (30 March 2016; this followed new agreement - new review commenced 30 March 2016)
Commenced 6 August 2015
Statement of Issues released on 15 October 2015 (submission due 4 November) (ACCC press release)
ACCC summary: 'A consortium assembled by Brookfield Asset Management Inc that includes Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. proposes to acquire 100% of the shares in Asciano Limited.'
Industry: Infrastructure
Undertakings/remedies: On 26 November the ACCC announced it had not accepted Brookfield's proffered behavioral undertakings relating to its proposed acquisition of Asciano: see ACCC media release.
Inquiries on undertakings:
ACCC commenced market inquiries on proposed s 87B undertakings (closing date for submissions was 22 January 2016)
Media:
eg, Jenny Wiggins, 'ACCC to take 'close look' at Brookfield's $8.9b Asciano takeover' (AFR, 3 September 2015) and Jenny Wiggins, 'Vertical integration 'the main issue' in Brookfield bid for Asciano, says ACCC chair' (SMH, 6 October 2015).

External linkHalliburton Company - proposed acquisition of Baker Hughes Incorporated
Discontinued: The ACCC discontinued its review after Halliburton withdrew its application - it advised the proposed acquisition would not be proceeding
Commenced: 21 April 2015
Statement of issues released: 23 October 2015 (submissions due by 12 November 2015)
ACCC summary:
'Halliburton Company (Halliburton) proposes to acquire Baker Hughes Incorporated (Baker Hughes). Both Halliburton and Baker Hughes are headquartered in the USA and provide oilfield services, technology and systems to the oil and natural gas industries in many countries, including Australia. Halliburton also operates in Australia through Mintech Chemical Industries Pty Limited which it acquired in 2014 and Baker Hughes also owns the Gaffney Cline & Associates consultancy business.
Industry:
Oilfield services, technology and systems

External linkHealth Care Corporation Pty Ltd (Ramsay) - proposed acquisition of Wollongong Day Surgery Type of assessment Informal Review
Request withdrawn: Ramsay withdrew its request for clearance on 6 August 2015)
Commenced 16 March 2015; Statement of Issues released 11 June 2015 (submissions on SOI due 2 July)
ACCC summary: 'Health Care Corporation Pty Ltd (Ramsay) proposes to acquire the Wollongong Day Surgery (WDS) medical services business and its assets.'
Industry: Medical Centre

2014

Opposed

External linkAGL Energy Ltd proposed acquisition of Macquarie Generation assets in NSW
Opposed (4 March 2014)
Commenced 2 December 2013; SOI issued 6 February 2014; opposed 4 March 2014
NOTE: Authorisation application lodged by AGL on 24 March 2014; successful on 25 June 2014

External linkHealthscope Ltd - proposed acquisition of Brunswick Private Hospital
Opposed
Commenced 22 January 2014. Completed 12 June 2014. SOI issued 27 March. PCA to follow.

External linkSonic Healthcare Ltd - proposed acquisition of assets of Delta Imaging Group
Opposed (PCA expected)
Commenced: 15 October 2013; Statement of Issues: 5 December 2013; Opposed: 17 January 2014

Not opposed subject to undertakings

External linkBlueScope Steel Ltd proposed acquisition of OneSteel Sheet & Coil business from Arrium Ltd
Not opposed - subject to undertaking (PCA to follow)
Commenced 15 October 2013. Completed 6 March 2014.View undertaking.

External linkCaltex proposed acquisition of fuel Division of Scotts Group
Not opposed subject to undertaking
Commenced 27 February 2014. Completed 22 May 2014. No SOI and no PCA anticipated

External linkElgas Limited - proposed acquisition of Wesfarmers Kleenheat Gas's east coast LPG assets
Not opposed subject to undertakings (18 December 2014)
Public competition assessment published 22 December 2015
Commenced 10 April 2014; Statement of Issues 5 June 2014; Submissions due 26 June
Not opposed subject to s 87B undertakings
Media: John Durie, 'Kleenheat sale hits competition hurdle' (The Australian, 5 June 2014)

External linkPeregrine Corporation - proposed acquisition of 25 BP Australia petrol retail sites in South Australia
Not opposed subject to undertakings (PCA released 15 December)
Commenced: 15 May 2013; Completed; 8 May 2014; Undertaking provided 8 May 2014
Note: proposed acquisition of Caltex Fullarton in Adelaide opposed

Not opposed

External linkAquis proposed acquisition of Reef Casino
Not opposed (21 August 2014)
Commenced 9 April 2014; Statement of Issues released 3 July (Corrigendum added 25 July)
The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition

External linkAmcor Ltd proposed acquisition of Detmold Flexibles Pty Ltd & Detmark Pty Ltd
Not opposed
Commenced 21 November 2013; completed 20 February 2014

External linkBlueScope Steel Ltd proposed acquisition of Fielders Australia Pty Ltd
Not opposed
Commenced 15 October 2013; SOI issued 5 December 2013. Completed 30 January 2014

External linkColes Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd - proposed acquisition of four Progressive Supa IGA stores in WA
Not opposed
Commenced 14 April 2014 (Market Inquiries letter sent) - SOI issued 10 July 2014 - further information requested on 25 July, received 25 August - not opposed on 18 September 2014 (press release)

External linkCSR Ltd and Boral Ltd - proposed clay brick JV
Not opposed (18 December 2014)
Commenced 9 April 2014 (Market Inquiries letter sent)
Statement of Issues released 16 October 2014
Public Competition Assessment released 6 August 2015

External linkExpedia Inc - proposed acquisition of Wotif.com Holdings Limited
Not opposed
Commenced 16 July 2014; Market Inquiries letter 21 July 2014; Statement of Issues 4 September 2014.
Not opposed on 2 October 2014 (press release). PCA released 13 January 2015.

External linkFairfax Media Limited - proposed acquisition of All Homes Pty Ltd
Not opposed
Commenced: 11 July 2014; submissions due 4 August. Completed 4 September 2014.

External linkiSentia Pty Limited proposed acquisition of Australian Associated Press Pty Limited's media monitoring business
Not opposed (PCA issued)
Commenced 29 October 2013; SOI issued 19 December 2013; decision 20 February 2014; PCA 16 April 2014

External linkThe Transurban Consortium proposed acquisition of the assets of the Queensland Motorways Group
Not opposed
Commenced: 12 February 2014; competed: 4 April 2014

External linkWoolworths Limited - proposed acquisition of Supa IGA supermarket and packaged liquor operations in St Kilda VIC
Not opposed
Commenced 16 October 2013; SOI issued 5 December 2013; Not opposed on 29 January 2014

Withdrawn/no decision

External linkRheem Australia Pty Ltd - possible acquisition of water heater assets of Dux Manufacturing Ltd
No decision (on 26 November the 'ACCC concluded its review of the proposed acquisition in light of another party entering into a binding agreement to buy the assets')
Commenced 25 August 2014; Statement of Issues 17 October 2014; Submissions due 31 October 2014
Media: 'Rheem Australia Frustrated by ACCC Stance' (23 October 2014)

External linkWoolworths Ltd proposed acquisition of Lindisfarne Cellars (liquor licence and associated assets) in Tasmania
Withdrawn
Commenced 10 October 2013; SOI issued 19 December 2013; informal merger review request withdrawn on 10 Febfuary 2014

2013

Opposed

External linkH J Heinz Company Australia Limited - proposed acquisition of Rafferty's Garden Pty Ltd
Opposed on 6 June 2013 (SOI issued 7 Feb 2013; PCA issued 26 July 2013. See press release)

Woolworths Ltd - proposed acquisition of supermarket site at Glenmore Ridge Village Centre
Opposed on 6 June 2013 (SOI issued) (PCA issued 25 October 2013)

Not opposed subject to undertakings

External linkBaxter International Inc proposed acquisition of Gambro AB
Not opposed subject to divestiture remedy
Commenced 4 March 2013. Not opposed on 4 September 2013. (PCA issued 28 November)

External linkGallagher Group - proposed acquisition of Country Electronics
Not opposed subject to undertakings(SOI issued 31 Jan 2013; PCA not yet available)
Commenced 25 October 2012. Completed 19 December 2013

External linkPerpetual Ltd's proposed acquisition of the The Trust Company
Not opposed subject to undertakings

Commenced 16 May 2013; Completed 19 September (SOI issued 1 August; PCI issued 3 December 2013)

External linkThermo Fisher Scientific Inc - proposed acquisition of Life Technologies Corporation
Not opposed subject to undertakings
Commenced 20 September 2013; Completed 19 December 2013; PCI issued 25 February 2014

External linkWestfield proposed acquisition of Karrinyup Shopping Centre
Not opposed subject to divestiture remedy

Commenced 22 July 2013; not opposed on 5 September 2013 (PCA issued 28 November)

Not opposed

External linkAir New Zealand Limited proposed acquisition of 6% of Virgin Australia Holdings Pty Ltd
Not opposed
Commenced 6 June 2013; completed 5 September 2013

External linkAPA Group proposed acquisition of Envestra Limited
Not opposed
Commenced 26 July 2013. Market inquiries letter sent 31 July. Decision announced 27 August 2013.

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited and Tiger Airways - proposed joint venture to operate Tiger Airways Australia
Not opposed
(SOI issued 7 Feb 2013; PCI issued 31 July 2013)

Woolworths Ltd - proposed acquisition of Supermarket in Hawker ACT
Not opposed (4 July 2013) (PCA issued 17 October 2013)

External linkWoolworths Ltd - proposed acquisition of various Supa IGA stores
Not opposed
Commenced 14 May 2013; Decision not to oppose on 29 August

2012

APA Group - proposed acquisition of Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund
Not opposed, subject to undertakings (PCA issued 14 Feb 2013)

External linkCarsales.com Limited - proposed acquisition of assets assoicated with Trading Post from Telstra
Merger opposed
(PCA issued 13 June 2013)

External linkNestle - proposed acquisition of Pfizer Nutrition
Not opposed (PCA issued 3 May 2013)

Seven Group Holdings Limited proposed acquisition of remaining shares in Consolidated Media Holdings Limited
Merger opposed
(PCA issued issued 15 Feb 2013)

External linkSonic Healthcare - proposed acquisition of pathology businesses of Healthscope Limited in Queensland and Western Australia
Merger opposed (Queensland); Not opposed (WA)
Commenced 16 May 2012; SOI issued 2 August 2012; Decision announced 11 Oct 2012; PCA issued 28 August 2013

External linkUniversal Music Holdings Ltd proposed acquisition of the recorded music business of EMI Group
Not opposed. Noted work with other regulators (NZ, EC, US) .
Commenced 7 March 2012; concluded 17 Sept 2012

External linkWoolworths Ltd and Lowe's Companies proposed acquisition of G Gay & Co stores
Opposed
Commenced 13 February 2012; concluded 4 October 2012. PCI issued 5 December 2013.

2011

External linkWoolworths Limited proposed acquisition of The Cellarmasters Group
Not opposed (PCA issued 27 May 2011)
Commenced 1 March 2011; completed 21 April 2011

2010

 

Merger authorisations

In Australia it is possible for parties to apply to have a merger 'authorised' on public benefit grounds, notwithstanding it might otherwise contravene the prohibition in s 50 of the Act. Until 2007 parties applied to the ACCC for authorisation with the possibility of appeal to the Australian Competition Tribunal. In 2007 the power to hear merger authorisations was removed from the ACCC - parties now apply directly to the Tribunal with no opportunity for merits appeal.

Authorisation applications since 2007

Current

Tabcorp Holdings and Tatts Group - proposed merger
Tribunal page not yet available
ACCC consideration: External linkTabcorp Holdings and Tatts Group - proposed merger

Commenced 25 November 2016. Following release of SoI on 9 March 2017, Tabcorp withdrew its request for informal review and made application to the Tribunal for authorisation. See Tabcorp media release (13 March 2017).
SoI released 9 March 2017 (submissions due 24 March; proposed decision 4 May)
ACCC summary: Tabcorp Holdings Limited (Tabcorp) and Tatts Group Limited (Tatts) propose to merge. Tabcorp and Tatts both operate off-course totalisators and retail wagering networks (in different states and territories) and online wagering businesses. Tabcorp and Tatts both supply gaming and promotional management systems and services to gaming venues and gaming monitoring services to state governments.
Industry:
Gaming and wagering
Media: John Durie, 'Tabcorp decision to switch regulators mid-race is being led by lawyers' (The Australian, 13 March 2017), James Thomson and John Stenshold, 'Tabcorp takes Tatts Group merger case straight to Competition Tribunal' (Australian Financial Review, 13 March 2017) and AAP, 'Tabcorp takes Tatts bid to tribunal' (SBS, 13 March 2017).

Completed or withdrawn

There have now been four merger authorisation applications since the Tribunal took over the role of approving merger authorisations in 2007. The first was an application by Murray Goulburn and was withdrawn before being heard on 23 January 2014:

Application by Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co Limited for merger authorisation – ACT 4 of 2013
Commenced 29 November 2013 (Dairy Industry). Application withdrawn on 23 January 2014.

The second was by AGL in relation to a proposed acquisition of Macquarie Generation. This was announced via press release on 24 March 2014 and authorisation was granted by the Tribunal in June 2014. The ACCC announced it would not appeal this decision.

View Application by AGL Energy Ltd for Merger Authorisation - ACT 1 of 2014.
On 25 June 2014 the Tribunal granted authorisation for this proposed acqusition.

The third was by Sea Swift in relation to a proposed acquisition. The Tribunal granted authorisation on 1 July 2016, subject to conditions.

External linkView Application by Sea Swift Pty Ltd for Merger Authorisation - Act 9 of 2015
Commenced 21 September 2015
Withdrawn 17 November 2015

View Application by Sea Swift Pty Ltd for Merger Authorisation - Act 2 of 2016
See also ACCC authorisation page.
Commenced: 4 April 2016
Authorised: 1 July 2016
Hearing
: The hearing commenced in June 2016.
Sea Swift withdrew its original application and submitted a new merger authorisation application on 4 April 2016. Sea Swift proposes acquiring assets associated with Toll Marine Logistics in the Northern Territory and far north Qld.

See also the Tribunal's Merger Register.

Authorisation applications prior to 2007

Authorisation applications considered by the ACCC or TPC prior to 2007 include:

External linkQantas Airways Limited (2005) ATPR 42-065; [2005] ACompT 9 [TRIBUNAL]
ACCC declined authorisation; Tribunal set aside ACCC determination and authorised proposed conduct

External linkQantas Airways Limited (2004) ATPR 42-027; [2004] ACompT 9 [TRIBUNAL]
ACCC declined authorisation; Tribunal set aside ACCC determination and authorised proposed conduct

DuPont (Australia) Limited and Ors (1996) ATPR (Com) 50-231
Merger authorised (international competitiveness)

Application for Authorisation by Davids Limited in Relation to the Proposed Acquisition of QIW Limited (1996, A30174, 28 March)

Qantas Airways Limited and British Airways Plc (1995) ATPR (Com) 50-184

Re QIW Ltd (1995) 132 ALR 225
Merger authorisation application

Comalco Limited and Comalco Aluminium Limited (1994) ATPR (Com) 50-142

TRW Australia Ltd (1989) ATPR (Com) 50-087

Pasminco Limited Australian Mining & Smelting Limited (1988) ATPR (Com) 50-082

Fletcher Challenge Ltd. (1988) ATPR (Com) 50-077

Ardmona, Letona and SPC (1988) ATPR (Com) 50-068

Application by Wylie Steel Pty Limited for review of grant of authorization to Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited re acquisition of BHP/GKN Holdings Ltd. and John Lysaght (Australia) Ltd (1980) ATPR 40-170 [TRIBUNAL]
[on the issue of 'sufficient interest' to challenge TPC authorization determination]

Re Howard Smith Industries Pty Ltd and Adelaide Steamship Industries Pty Ltd (1977) ATPR 40-023 [TRIBUNAL]
TPC refused authorisation. Tribunal affirmed TPC's determination.

Re Queensland Co-Op Milling Association Limited and Defiance Holdings Limited (QCMA) (1976) 8 ALR 481
Merger authorisation application