Caxton to participate in media merger talks
Caxton has been granted leave to participate in the Naspers/EMN/SuperSport merger procedures subject to certain conditions, the Competition Tribunal said on Monday.
The proposed transaction between Naspers, Electronic Media Network (EMN) and SuperSport International will result in Naspers acquiring all of the issued share capital in M-Net and SuperSport, said the tribunal in a press release.
The tribunal said the merger had been referred to them at the end of May by the Competition Commission recommending they approve it without conditions.
On July 2 Caxton then applied to participate in the merger hearing and pre-hearing procedures between Naspers, EMN and SuperSport International.
The tribunal said Caxton had applied for leave to participate because it felt it was in a position to assist the tribunal in evaluating both the submissions of the commission and those of the merging parties on the effect of the merger on competition.
“Caxton argues that the merger is likely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in a number of markets and for this reason it ought to be prohibited,” said the competition tribunal.
The tribunal said Caxton believed Naspers would be able to bundle print and television advertising so as to lower print advertising below cost.
It also believed it would foreclose access to advertising on M-Net to print rivals and use its increased stake in M-Net to cross subsidise its print operations to the detriment of print rivals.
Caxton also believed that Naspers would be in a position to increase cross-promotions between its print and television interests, said the tribunal.
It also said Caxton had raised, as a concern, public-interest grounds, including whether the merged entity complied with foreign ownership rules set out in the Electronic Communications Act and what the consequences of the merger might be for the diversity of views in the media.
The tribunal said the three respondents did not oppose the application to intervene but stated its evaluation should be limited to looking at issues of only mixed bundling and the specific possible foreclosure process it had mentioned in its affidavit.—Sapa. .