The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a ‘Statement of Issues’ outlining its preliminary views on TPG Telecom’s proposed purchase of rival alternative broadband provider iiNet. In releasing the statement, the competition watchdog confirmed it is now seeking further information with a view to determining whether the deal would be likely to substantially lessen competition in the market for the supply of retail fixed broadband services. Speaking on the matter, ACCC chairman Rod Sims was cited as saying: ‘The proposed acquisition would combine two of the five largest suppliers of fixed broadband in Australia. The ACCC is exploring the extent to which the acquisition of iiNet will reduce competition by reducing the likely competitive tensions in respect of pricing, innovation and service quality.’ In addition, the regulator also confirmed it had received submissions from consumers, with concerns regarding the TPG/iiNet deal said to be primarily focused on fears that the latter’s customer service levels would decline as a result of the acquisition.
Meanwhile, the ACCC’s preliminary view is that the planned transaction is unlikely to raise competition concerns in other markets, including in relation to the supply of wholesale transmission, mobile broadband and voice services.
Further submissions from interested parties regarding the matter have now been invited by the ACCC, with a deadline for these set as 2 July 2015. As a result, the regulator has deferred a final decision on the deal until 20 August 2015.