Decision Nº M/03/022 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2003-08-06

Decision NumberM/03/022
PartiesThe Irish Field,The Agricultural Trust
StatusCleared (Phase 1)
Determination of the Competition Authority
Determination No. M/03/022 of the Competition Authority, dated August 6,
under Section 21 of the Competition Act, 2002
Notification No. M/03/022 – Acquisition by The Agricultural Trust of The Irish
Field
Introduction
1. On 11th July 2003 the Competition Authority, in accordance with Section 18 (1)
of the Competition Act, 2002 (“the Act”) was notified, on a mandatory basis, of a
proposal whereby The Agricultural Trust would acquire the titles, goodwill and
records of The Irish Field from The Irish Times Limited. The Authority advised
the notifying party and the Minister that it considers the acquisition to be a media
merger within the meaning of the Act.
The Parties
2. The Agricultural Trust is a charitable trust set up for the purposes of promoting
farming and rural development. It publishes The Irish Farmers Journal, which is
Ireland’s leading agricultural newspaper, with a circulation of approximately
70,000 copies per week. The Irish Farmers Journal contains a five page section
of equestrian news called The Irish Horse,
3. The Irish Field is a weekly newspaper published by the Irish Times, which
provides information for persons involved in the Irish horse industry to include
news on racing, equestrian events and breeding. It has a circulation of about
12,000 copies per week.
Analysis
4. On a broad view of the market concerned, as consisting of the supply of
newspapers in Ireland, the proposed transaction will in fact lessen concentration.
The circulation of the Irish Times and the Irish Field, both owned by the Irish
Times Limited is far higher than the circulation figures for the Irish Farmers
Journal.
5. If the relevant product market is defined more narrowly as the supply of
agricultural newspapers and periodicals in Ireland, to include special interest
publications relating to animals, then the proposed transaction increases
concentration. However, the “Farming” supplements of both the Irish Examiner
and the Irish Independent, which are closer substitutes for the Irish Farmers
Journal than the Irish Field, will exercise strong competitive constraints on it.
Moreover, two UK publications, The Racing Post, a specialist newspaper
providing racing news and analysis and the Horse and Hound magazine, an
equestrian weekly, are closer substitutes for The Irish Field and will continue to
exercise competitive constraints on it.
6. If the relevant product market is defined even more narrowly as weekly horse
industry publications, then the proposed transaction gives rise to increased
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