Conditional Clearance Of Trinity Mirror Acquisition

Author:Ms Helen Kelly

Further Proof of Irish Trend of Behavioural Remedies and Long Length of Irish Process

The Irish competition regulator has this week cleared a media merger, subject to a behavioural remedy of 'ring-fencing'. However, the parties cannot complete the deal for some time yet, as a separate Irish media plurality process may only commence now such that the total length of the Irish 'standstill obligation' could be more than 9 months.

In M/18/016 Trinity Mirror/Northern & Shell, acquirer Reach plc (formerly Trinity Mirror) undertook to 'ring-fence' the acquired shareholding in a joint venture with a competitor in order to secure competition clearance from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ("CCPC"). This behavioural remedy is intended to prevent access to competitively sensitive information in the context of post-merger management of the joint venture. The CCPC has a long track record of accepting behavioural remedies and in particular 'ring-fencing' - making it stand apart from other EU competition regulators to some extent. This year alone, a confidentiality remedy was accepted in two cases: (i) in M/18/031 Uniphar/SISK Healthcare, to address a concern that the acquirer healthcare wholesaler might use its new access to pricing data etc. to influence the target distributor's strategy in selling certain competing products, and (ii) in...

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