The ACCC will not oppose Gumtree’s proposed acquisition of Cox Australia Media Solutions (Cox Media), the owner of Carsguide and Autotrader sites.
Gumtree, which is a subsidiary of eBay, agreed to acquire Cox Media in December, as part of a verticalisation strategy, which has already seen the ecommerce giant acquire Motors.co.uk in the UK.
The proposed acquisition was placed under review by the ACCC to assess “whether the public benefit from the proposed acquisition outweighs the public detriment”.
Following the review, the ACCC has moved to approve the decision.
“We authorised this merger because we concluded it was not likely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition, including in the supply of online automotive classifieds in Australia. Therefore it was not necessary to consider the public benefit limb of the authorisation test,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
The decision to give the merger the green light was in part driven by what the ACCC sees as ample competition in the car sales market.
“Our investigation showed that Carsales and Facebook Marketplace are likely to continue to provide significant competition in online automotive classifieds after Gumtree acquires Cox Media,” Sims said.
“We also found that Gumtree and Cox Media focus on different segments, with Gumtree focussing on private seller listings and Cox Media focussing on dealer listings.”
There was also potential for the merger to disrupt online display advertising on each of the sites. However, the ACCC deemed this risk to be minimal.
“Many advertisers use third parties to place targeted advertisements to individual consumers based on browsing history data on a wide range of websites,”Sims said.
“Further, we found there are a range of other digital automotive content providers where direct advertisers could place automotive-related advertising, including Drive, Carsales, GoAuto and digital versions of automotive print publications.”
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