Competition regulator examined more than 70 deals in 2017

Watchdog was notified of 72 deals involving businesses with combined sales of €56bn

Isolde Goggin, chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said it did not block any proposed transaction in 2017. Photograph:  Eric Luke

Isolde Goggin, chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said it did not block any proposed transaction in 2017. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The State’s competition regulators scrutinised more than 70 deals involving businesses with combined sales of €56 billion in 2017.

Irish law requires that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) approve take overs and mergers involving businesses with a turnover of €3 million.

The commission’s report for 2017 shows that 72 such deals involving companies with a combined turnover of €56 billion were notified to it in 2017. It received 67 notifications in 2016.

Isolde Goggin, commission chairwoman, said that the watchdog did not block any proposed transaction, but sought commitments from the parties involved in four cases.

“Without these commitment, competition would have been adversely affected in a number of markets,” she said.

Transaction

The regulator also intervened when media measurement group Kantar Media announced plans to buy rival Newsaccess, even though both companies’ turnovers did not meet the threshold.

Ms Goggin explained that the commission feared that Kantar would remove its main competitor from the market. As a result, Kantar pledged to sell part of Newsaccess to ensure that the transaction went ahead.

Philip Andrews, head of competition at solicitor McCann FitzGerald, noted that the commission had stepped up enforcement in 2017. “While no deal was blocked outright, the CCPC required significant fixes in some cases,” he said.

Four media mergers, including The Irish Times DAC’s bid for Irish Examiner owner, Landmark Media Investments, and Bay Broadcasting’s buyout of other shareholders in Dublin’s Radio Nova, were notified to the commission in 2017.