Competition Law

Australian Competition Law and Policy Discussion

Metcash v ACCC

Posted by Julie Clarke on 24 November 2010

The fight is on.

Metcash have announced that they will proceed with its planned takeover of Franklins, despite the ACCC last week announcing that it would oppose the acquisition (view press release and informal merger decision).  Yesterday’s media release stated, in part:

Metcash Trading Limited has notified the ACCC that, in not fewer than 5 business days from today, it intends to take further steps to proceed with the Proposed Transaction.

This is the first such challenge since the Toll Holdings showdown in 2006 (which was ultimately resolved with undertakings) and AGL in 2003, which was successful in its Federal Court challenge (in which it sought and was given a declaration that its merger would not contravene s 50 (see AGL case).  I can’t wait.

Thanks to the usual suspects (Nationals Senator Ron Boswell and independents Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding, supported by the opposition) the Senate Economics Committee is also going to consider the ACCC’s decision in this (see Senate Hansard, 23/11/2010 at p 37) – this is an extraordinary referral to the Committee and it’s not entirely sure what it is designed to achieve, other than political point scoring and an undermining of the ACCC’s independence.  Submissions are due by 29 November (less than a week, which just adds to the  farcical nature of this inquiry).  The report is due on 17 December 2010 (because it takes non-expert Senators much less time to get their head around the complex law and economics issues associated with mergers than the expert lawyers and economists at the ACCC).  Another extraordinary waste of time and money.

Much more to follow on this one.

There’s plenty of media on this, including:

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