Kantar Media must sell part of Irish rival as condition of takeover

CCPC rules takeover of Newsaccess can go ahead if Kantar sells part of company

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission chairwoman Isolde Goggin: “The CCPC will use its powers to ensure that mergers that do not meet the required financial thresholds for mandatory notification, but that are likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition, do not go unchecked.”

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission chairwoman Isolde Goggin: “The CCPC will use its powers to ensure that mergers that do not meet the required financial thresholds for mandatory notification, but that are likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition, do not go unchecked.”

 

Global media measurement group Kantar Media must sell part of Irish rival Newsaccess and release some of its customers from fixed contracts as a condition of being allowed to buy it.

Kantar agreed to buy media monitoring business Newsaccess earlier this year, but the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) intervened and investigated the deal before it could proceed.

The commission said on Wednesday that Kantar had satisfied concerns raised during its investigation by agreeing to a number of conditions. As a result the regulator is clearing the transaction.

Among other things, Kantar will have to sell Newsaccess’s assets to a new supplier. It must also release some of its rival’s customers from fixed-term contracts, allow customers to get marketing material from whichever business buys the Newsaccess assets and maintain prices for a year.

Neither party informed the CCPC of the purchase as their turnovers fell below the threshold at which the law requires this. However, the commission was concerned that Kantar was buying its main Irish rival and told the companies to notify it. It began investigating the sale in March.

Mandatory notification

Commission chairwoman Isolde Goggin warned that even where companies’ turnovers fell below the thresholds, they still had a duty to ensure that any agreement did not substantially lessen competition.

“The CCPC will use its powers to ensure that mergers that do not meet the required financial thresholds for mandatory notification, but that are likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition, do not go unchecked,” Ms Goggin said.

Kantar has offices in Dublin and Belfast and employs more than 50 people. It is part of advertising giant WPP, which has said that its Irish companies and associates turn over almost €70 million a year and employ more than 500 people.

Newsaccess employs 20 people and had €2.3 million sales in 2015. It measures press, broadcast and online coverage of clients so they can assess how PR campaigns for their brands or businesses performed.