The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has officially kicked off its informal review of the proposed Nine-Fairfax merger.
The competition watchdog opened the gate for submissions from interested parties regarding Nine’s takeover of Fairfax yesterday, with the closing date set for Friday 7 September.
As for when the ACCC plans to deliver its decision on the merger, Thursday 8 November has been pencilled in.
In a letter issued on the ACCC website, general manager of merger investigations Tom Leuner said the review will focus on four key areas.
One is how closely the media platforms of Nine and Fairfax compete in the supply of content to consumers and the supply of advertising space to advertisers.
Another key area of focus is the merger’s impact on choice and volume or range of the news and information available to consumers due to a reduction in competition.
The ACCC will also look at the impact of the merger on prices for consumers, advertisers and content suppliers, along with whether there are particular media platforms or geographic areas that will be affected by changes in competition.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has been particularly scathing in its reaction to the Nine-Fairfax deal, urging the ACCC to block the takeover.
The MEAA has also called for the two media companies to “seek formal authorisation” from the competition watchdog, as opposed to the informal 12-week review.
However, ACCC chairman Rod Sims has vowed to go over the merger with a fine tooth comb.
“We are going to look at it extremely carefully. It’s a very, very important issue,” he said last month in an interview on Perth’s 6PR.