Decision Nº M/04/030 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2004-06-02

CourtCompetition and Consumer Protection Commission (Ire)
PartiesWestmeath Offaly Print Company,Celtic News Group
Decision Date02 June 2004
Date02 June 2004
StatusPreliminary investigation (Phase 1)
Decision NumberM/04/030
1
Determination No. M/04/030 of the Competition Authority, dated 2nd June 2004,
Notification No. M/04/030 – Proposed acquisition by Celtic News Group Limited
of The Westmeath Offaly Independent Print Company Limited, The Westmeath
Offaly Independent (Holdings) Limited and The Westmeath Examiner Limited
Introduction
1. On 6th May 2004 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 Celtic News Group Limited (Celtic) would acquire The
Westmeath Offaly Independent Print Company Limited, The Westmeath Offaly
Independent (Holdings) Limited and The Westmeath Examiner Limited (together
“the target companies”). The Authority notified the Minister for Enterprise Trade
& Employment (“the Minister”) and the parties that it considers the proposed
transaction to be a media merger within the meaning of section 23 of the Act.
2. As part of the same notification, the Authority was notified of three previous
acquisitions, whereby Nicholas Nally transferred 4,042 shares in The Westmeath
Examiner Limited to The Westmeath Offaly Independent Print Company Limited
on 1st July 1999, and later 4,500 shares on 2nd February 2000 and 6,826 shares on
19th April 2000 to the same company, as evidenced by a Deed of Conveyance and
Confirmation of Title to Shares dated 29th April 2004. The parties believe that
these transfers were required to be notified to the Minister pursuant to the
Mergers, Take-Overs and Monopolies (Control) Act 1978.
The Parties
3. Celtic publishes The Meath Chronicle, a weekly regional newspaper targeted at
Co. Meath and the Anglo-Celt, also a weekly regional newspaper targeted at Co.
Cavan. The Meath Chronicle Limited, as well as publishing The Meath
Chronicle, also prints newspapers on behalf of third parties and prints over 40
other titles on a contract basis, including the Westmeath Examiner, the
Westmeath Independent and the Offaly Independent which are the subject of the
proposed transaction. Similarly, Anglo-Celt Limited, as well as publishing the
Anglo-Celt newspaper, also prints a range of other titles. The acquisition of
Anglo-Celt Limited by Celtic was approved by the Authority earlier this year.
4. The business of the target companies is the publication of the following titles:
The Westmeath Examiner, the Westmeath Independent, and the Offaly
Independent whose circulation is targeted at Mullingar and 20 miles environs,
Athlone and 20 miles environs, and Tullamore and Northwest Offaly
respectively.

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