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Creeping Acquisitions

29/08/2011

The Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 seeks to address creeping acquisitions.  An individual small-scale acquisition may not substantially lessen competition, but a series of such acquisitions can collectively have that effect over time.

The Government has considered a number of models for reform since its 2008 discussion paper about the creeping acquisitions in response to the ACCC’s Grocery Inquiry.  Some of those models were overly interventionist and costly.  There was no greater support for any particular model.  Consequently, the Government chose to specifically address two areas of the law where it considered clarification would be helpful in dealing with its concerns.

The proposed amendments to section 50 of the CCA substitute the words ‘a market’ for ‘any market’ and also omit the requirement that the relevant market be a ‘substantial’ one.  The effect of those amendments will allow a range of markets to be considered.  It will also allow consideration of markets other than the one primarily affected by the transaction.  The combined effect is to allow acquisitions in localised markets to be considered.

 

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