JWS secures Bauer Media acquisition after ACCC ruling

By Tony Zhang|31 March 2020

Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS) has advised Bauer Media on its proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines, following the ACCC confirming it would not oppose it.

Firms: Johnson Winter & Slattery (Bauer Media); Clayton Utz (Pacific Magazines) 

Deal: Johnson Winter & Slattery has advised Bauer Media on its proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines, which the ACCC announced would not be opposed. 

Value: Undisclosed.

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Area: M&A

Key players: JWS partner Sar Katdare led this transaction with support from special counsel Andrew Willekes.

Deal significance: JWS advised Bauer on the competition aspects of this transaction, helping the publisher overcome competition concerns from the ACCC and its preliminary view to block the transaction. 

After carefully assessing the impact of the acquisition, the ACCC decided not to oppose the merger because it was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in relevant markets, despite a notable level of competition between the organisations’ print titles. 

The ACCC agreed other media, especially online publishers, would increasingly compete with Bauer post-acquisition.

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“The significant declines in the circulation and revenue experienced by many magazines are sustained, substantial and likely to continue, resulting in less investment in content and fewer retail promotions,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

Bauer Media and Pacific Magazines overlap in the publication of print and digital magazines and in content published on digital platforms.

The ACCC carefully assessed the impact of the merger, given the close competition between the parties’ key print magazines, Bauer’s Woman’s Day and Take 5, and Pacific Magazines’ New Idea and That’s Life!

“Ultimately, we determined that although there is a notable level of competition between the particular print titles, the transaction was not likely to substantially lessen competition because publishers in other media, particularly online publishers, will increasingly compete with Bauer,” Mr Sims said.

JWS secures Bauer Media acquisition after ACCC ruling
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