The Competition Tribunal has set aside a decision that allowed a merger between Paarl Media and Primedia @Home. In a decision handed down yesterday, the Competition Tribunal has referred the case back to the Competition Commission for a reassessment by a new case team.
An appeal for the decision to be reviewed was lodged by Caxton and its subsidiary, CTP Publishers and Printers. It said the two entities would then have 80 percent share of the knock and drop market should the merger be allowed.
Paarl Media said in a statement today that it was “important to note that the Competition Tribunal, however, dismissed Caxton’s application for an interdict against the continued implementation of the merger”.
“The Tribunal stated that in a case of an appeal, ‘it would be concerned with whether a decision of the commission was right or wrong’. However, as this was a process of review, it was ‘concerned with the manner in which the Commission has arrived at its decision’. “
The statement read: “The Paarl Media Group and Primedia will continue to comply with all the requirements of the Competition Commission and Tribunal during this phase. In addition, the Paarl Media Group will continue with the development of Primedia@Home as set out in the business plan compiled post the unconditional merger approval. Since the Competition Tribunal emphasised that the parties were and are fully entitled to implement the transaction, Primedia supports the ongoing development of the business by the Paarl Media Group.”
The tribunal’s 27-page ruling found that the commission had not “properly applied its mind to the facts about the effect the merger would have on other players in the sector” and said the commission “had erred in one area on distinguishing between distribution of adverts via free printed media and distribution of adverts via paid-for printed media, concluding that they were separate markets”.
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