Nortons Inc April 2018 News

12 April 2018|In Competition Briefs eBriefs

In this edition:

  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION RAIDS RUPERT MURDOCH’S FOX HQ
  • COMPETITION TRIBUNAL APPROVES NETCARE’S ACQUISITION OF AKESO
  • MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL APPROVALS OBTAINED IN BEIJER REF AB ACQUISITION OF TECSA (PTY) LTD AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES
  • COMPETITION COMMISSION APPROVES CTP’S ACQUISITION OF A CONTROLLING STAKE IN PRIVATE PROPERTY ENHANCING COMPETITION IN ONLINE MEDIA
  • HEALTHCARE MARKET INQUIRY TO EXTEND PERIOD OF ASSESSMENT
  • GROCERY RETAIL MARKET INQUIRY TO EXTEND PERIOD OF ASSESSMENT
  • THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMPETITION COMMISSION HOLDS SEMINAR ON IMPACT OF COMPETITION POLICY ON CONSUMER SEMINAR

EUROPEAN COMMISSION RAIDS RUPERT MURDOCH’S FOX HQ

On Tuesday, 10 April 2018, the London Offices of Fox Networks were raided by investigators from the European Commission.  In a statement released by the European Commission, it was noted that “The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices”. It is understood that investigators have already taken a number of documents and computer records.  Furthermore, it is understood that the raid is likely to last up to 3 days.  For more information please click here.


COMPETITION TRIBUNAL APPROVES NETCARE’S ACQUISITION OF AKESO

Netcare has successfully acquired competition clearance from the Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) for its acquisition of Akeso Clinics (Akeso) (“the Transaction”), a group of 12 dedicated mental healthcare facilities, comprising 811 beds and located in various parts of South Africa, including Cape Town, George, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit, Umhlanga and Pietermaritzburg, with the Competition Commission of South Africa.

Akeso was established during 2008 following the acquisition of the Crescent Clinic in Randburg. Akeso opened its first greenfield hospital in Pietermaritzburg in March 2011, followed by Akeso Alberton in September 2011 and Akeso Parktown in March 2012. It acquired Akeso Kenilworth in March 2013, Akeso Stepping Stones (Kommetjie) in September 2014, Akeso Montrose (Bishops Court) in March 2015 and Akeso George in November 2015. It has subsequently opened new hospitals in Milnerton in September 2015, Umhlanga in December 2015 and Nelspruit in June 2017. The newly constructed facility in Arcadia opened on 31 January 2018. Akeso has grown from 85 beds in 2011 to its current 811 beds.

The Transaction was subject to various regulatory approvals, including the approval of the Tribunal.  The Tribunal approved the transaction subject to certain conditions, including Netcare’s disposal of the Netcare Rand Hospital and the Netcare Bell Street Hospital.

Nortons Inc., acted for both Netcare and Akeso in relation to the competition proceedings.


MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL APPROVALS OBTAINED IN BEIJER REF AB ACQUISITION OF TECSA (PTY) LTD AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES

Nortons Inc. filed the first of three multi-jurisdictional filings in respect of Beijer Ref AB’s proposed acquisition of Tecsa (Pty) Ltd (“Tecsa”) with the Competition Commission of South Africa.  In terms of the proposed transaction, Beijer Ref AB would acquire the entire business of Tecsa as a going concern, including its subsidiary operations in Namibia and Botswana.  Accordingly, two subsequent filings were made to the Namibian Competition Authority and Botswana Competition Authority.

Tecsa operates in the supply of household appliance parts, various types of air-conditioning systems and parts as well as various types of refrigeration components, systems and parts throughout South Africa and into countries such as Namibia and Botswana.  Beijer Ref AB, also had a presence in South Africa, through its subsidiary Metraclark (Pty) Ltd.  Like Tecsa, Metraclark is also active in the supply of various types of air-conditioning systems and parts as well as various types of refrigeration components, systems and parts throughout South Africa and into countries such as Namibia and Botswana.  The transaction is seen by both parties as bringing about significant synergies and efficiencies which will ultimately make the merged entity more competitive, particularly vis-à-vis imports from China.

The transaction was subject to various regulatory approvals, including the approval of the competition authorities in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.  The transaction was approved in all three jurisdictions, including a conditional approval in South Africa on 15 January 2018, a subsequent conditional approval in Botswana on 15 February 2018 and an unconditional approval in Namibia on 27 March 2018.

Nortons Inc., acted for Tecsa in relation to the competition proceedings in all three jurisdictions.


COMPETITION COMMISSION APPROVES CTP’S ACQUISITION OF A CONTROLLING STAKE IN PRIVATE PROPERTY ENHANCING COMPETITION IN ONLINE MEDIA

In terms of the transaction CTP acquired a controlling stake in Private Property, one of the largest online digital property advertising platforms in Africa.

Prior to this transaction CTP was predominantly active in the printing and publishing space, where it operates a number of printing facilities throughout South Africa as well as the publication of several titles (including magazines and newspapers).  Private Property, on the other hand, sells property related digital advertising services on an online platform, which enables prospective owners and tenants to search for and identify property listings.  In addition, other services which are advertised on the Private Property platform include finance, insurance and estate agent services.

The transaction was subject to various regulatory approvals including the approval of the South African Competition Commission and was approved subject to certain conditions.

Nortons Inc., acted for both CTP and Private Property in relation to the competition proceedings.


HEALTHCARE MARKET INQUIRY TO EXTEND PERIOD OF ASSESSMENT

The Competition Commission of South Africa is currently conducting a market inquiry into the Private Healthcare Sector in terms of Chapter 4A of the Competition Act, 89 of 1998 (as amended).  On 21 November 2017, the Healthcare Market Inquiry (“HMI”) indicated that it was delaying the release of its provisional report to 30 April 2018, with its Final report scheduled to be released on 31 August 2018.

Nortons Inc. represents Netcare in the market inquiry in to the private healthcare sector.


GROCERY RETAIL MARKET INQUIRY TO EXTEND PERIOD OF ASSESSMENT

The Competition Commission of South Africa is currently conducting a market inquiry into the South African grocery retail sector.  The Inquiry which commenced on 27 November 2015, had initially been earmarked to conclude in May 2017.  However, in a Government Gazette issued on 21 May 2017 the inquiry timetable was extended to 31 March 2018.  More recently, on 23 March 2018, a further Government Gazette was issued extending the Inquiry to 28 September 2018.

Nortons Inc. represents Pick n Pay in the market inquiry.


THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMPETITION COMMISSION HOLDS SEMINAR ON IMPACT OF COMPETITION POLICY ON CONSUMER SEMINAR

On 15 March 2018 the South African Competition Commission held a seminar on the impact of competition policy on consumer welfare.  The seminar was divided into two sessions.

The first session, which was presented by Hardin Ratshisudu (the Deputy Commissioner) and Ebrahim Mohamed (National Consumer Commissioner), dealt with the perspectives of the Competition Commission and Consumer Commission.  Issues raised included:

  • the unequal power which exists between consumers and suppliers which often leads to vulnerable members of society being exploited;
  • alleged excessive prices of mobile data services;
  • the need for penalties to be more creative in order to remedy the negative impact on consumers that resulted from the anti-competitive conduct; and
  • the indication that Competition Commission will be collaborating with other consumer agencies going forward in order to ensure public interest matters are promoted

The second session involved a panel discussion with Nick Tselentis (SA National Consumer Union); Umunyana Rugege (Legal Counsel, section 27), Thandie Zulu (Regional Manager of Black Sash), Thando Vilakazi (Senior Researcher); Sipho Mtombeni (Principal Analyst).  Issues raised during the panel discussion included:

  • the need for there to be more collaboration with stakeholders and the Competition Commission;
  • the need for the Competition Commission to collaborate with other regulators;
  • competition should be welcomed in our economy;
  • the need for there to be a proper analysis of the value chain; and
  • the need for fines to benefit those that have been harmed by anti-competitive behaviour.