The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not oppose Seven West Media’s (ASX: SWM) proposed acquisition of Prime Media Group (ASX: PRT).
Seven West Media is a national media company with commercial television, publishing and digital operations. Prime is its main regional television broadcasting affiliate.
The ACCC conducted a review of a similar proposal in 2019. At the time, the ACCC did not oppose the merger of Seven West Media and Prime. However, the 2019 transaction did not proceed after it was not approved by the requisite number of Prime’s shareholders.
“Given the importance of media markets, we decided to conduct a public review for this proposed acquisition. Despite not opposing the 2019 proposed acquisition, we thought it was important to still closely scrutinise this transaction,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“We focused our assessment on whether there had been any material changes in the relevant markets since the ACCC’s 2019 review.”
“We received minimal engagement from market participants including rival media companies, and feedback received indicated there had been no material changes in the relevant markets,” said Mr Sims.
“Consistent with our findings in 2019, we concluded that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to substantially lessen competition or choice for advertisers and consumers. This is because Seven West Media and Prime are not particularly close competitors in the supply of advertising opportunities or the supply of media content, and other competitors will constrain the merged entity ,” Mr Sims said.
Most of Prime’s broadcast content is currently supplied by Seven West Media, although Prime produces its own regional news in some regions, including the GWN7 News broadcast in regional WA on weeknights.
Seven West Media proposes to acquire 100 per cent of Prime’s business and related assets through a share sale agreement.
Seven West Media and Prime broadcast free to air television to different parts of Australia.
Seven West Media’s Seven Network is one of Australia’s three metropolitan commercial free to air television networks, operating channels including 7, 7TWO, 7mate, 7Flix and Racing.com. It also supplies a number of metropolitan and regional print/online news publications in Western Australia.
Seven West Media’s other assets include digital services on 7plus and 7NEWS and Seven Studios.
SWM divested its Spirit and RedFM radio networks to Southern Cross Media on 31 December 2019.
Prime is an Australian television network with commercial free to air TV broadcasting licences covering regional northern and southern New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, regional Victoria, the Gold Coast area of Queensland and all of regional Western Australia. In regional Western Australia it operates the GWN7 network, and jointly owns the Western Digital Television network with WIN Corporation.