Concerns that the proposed merger between OohMedia and APN Outdoor will damage competition and squeeze rival companies out of the market have pushed back the ACCC's decision.
The ACCC has today issued a Statement of Issues (SOI) on the proposed merger.
The statement expresses that “many industry participants have competition concerns” over reduced competition if it goes ahead.
It is seeking further evidence and has given a new date for the final decision - which could see it shelved.
ACCC chairman Rob Sims says: “It will combine the two largest providers of out-of-home(OOH) advertising in Australia, creating a market leader with more than 50% of all OOH advertising, and an even higher share in some segments, such as roadside billboards.”
Other issues raised include that the merged entity would be the only OOH provider with a presence in all categories of OOH advertising.
The preliminary view from the ACCC was a likelihood for the merger to “substantially lessen competition in the market”.
“The loss of competition could result n increased prices for advertisers ow lower levels or service, quality, or innovation,” Sims says.
Overall the ACCC outlined concerns from the market the merger may “damage the interests of site owners” who “rely on competition between APN Outdoor and OohMedia to obtain the maximum rent for their sites,” Sims adds.
In March, the decision was previously delayed by the ACCC as it sought more information on the deal.
The ACCC is inviting further submissions from interested parties by 19 May with a final decision due to be given on 6 July.
The proposed merger between APN Outdoor and OohMedia was first announced in early December of 2016, with OohMedia chairman Michael Anderson citing a “future growth and digitisation opportunities” as reason to pursue the move.
View the full statement here.
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