Fin24

Paarl Media merger set aside

2011-07-26 17:22

Johannesburg - The Competition Tribunal on Tuesday set aside a decision to allow a merger between Paarl Media and Primedia@Home.

The tribunal found that the Competition Commission had not properly applied its mind to the facts.

Caxton and CTP Publishers had applied to the tribunal to review the commission's decision in January to unconditionally approve the merger.

The commission would now have to reconsider the case with a different investigation team.

Caxton, which is a competitor to Paarl Media, said the commission's process in assessing the merger "was tainted with errors and irregularities".

The tribunal decision on its website said it was "concerned with the manner in which the commission has arrived at its decision".

It found that the commission had overlooked or failed to deal with critical evidence about the potential competitive effects of the merger.

Caxton said it raised concerns, during the commission's investigation, that it would be negatively affected by the merger.

It claimed the commission did not properly take these and other factors into account in reaching its decision.

Paarl Media is an indirect subsidiary of Media 24, which is ultimately controlled by Naspers Ltd [JSE:NPN]. Media 24 in turn controls On the Dot, which distributes leaflet advertising by way of knock and drop distribution.

Paarl Media is a commercial printing operation which prints a wide variety of printed material including magazines, newspapers and leaflets, and also produces and distributes a branded advertising jacket called Shoppers Friend.

Primedia@Home and On the Dot would have an 80% combined market share in the knock-and-drop distribution market.

* Fin24 is a Naspers publication