Decision Nº M/04/034 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2004-06-28

CourtCompetition and Consumer Protection Commission (Ire)
PartiesNOVA EuroConex,EuroConex Technologies
Decision Date28 June 2004
Date28 June 2004
StatusPreliminary investigation (Phase 1)
Decision NumberM/04/034
Determination of the Competition Authority
Determination No. M/04/034 of the Competition Authority, dated
Notification No. M/04/034 - the proposed acquisition by NOVA
EuroConex Holdings B.V. of Bank of Ireland’s shareholding in
EuroConex Technologies Limited
Introduction
1. On 28 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 NOVA EuroConex
Holdings B.V. (“NEH”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp,
(“USB”) would purchase the 50% shareholding held by Bank of Ireland
(“BOI”) in EuroConex Technologies Limited (“EuroConex”) - “the
proposed acquisition”.
2. EuroConex is a joint venture, owned by USB (through NEH) and BOI in
equal shares. Under the proposed acquisition, USB will gain sole
ownership and control of EuroConex.
The Parties
3. USB, the acquirer, is based in the United States and is one of the
largest companies operating in the North American financial services
industry. USB’s global turnover in 2003 was €11.9 billion. Apart from
its 50% share in EuroConex, USB does not make any sales on the
island of Ireland.
4. EuroConex, the target, was established as a joint venture between
NOVA Corporation and BOI in June 2000. In July 2001 USB acquired
NOVA Corporation, and thereby acquired a 50% shareholding in
EuroConex. EuroConex is a card payment processor. It offers a range
of (credit and debit) card payment services to retailers, financial
institutions, payment processors and businesses, in Ireland and
continental Europe. Those services include support solutions for
integrated “point-of-sale” systems, currency conversion services, and
solutions for secure Internet purchases. Its turnover in 2003 was
€[CONFIDENTIAL], of which approximately [CONFIDENTIAL]% was
achieved in the State. A subsidiary company, Flexicom, develops and
supplies electronic payment processing software for retailers.
Credit Card Payment Processing
5. When a credit card holder makes a purchase, the merchant submits
the transaction details to a card payment processor, such as
EuroConex, whose function is to identify the bank that issued the
credit card (the “issuing bank”). Next the “acquiring bank”, licensed
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