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ACCC gives green light to IVE Group buyouts

Wednesday, 07 December 2016
By Jake Nelson

The ACCC will not hold a public review into IVE Group’s $116 million buyouts of Franklin Web and AIW, which may indicate a clear path for PMP’s proposed merger with IPMG.

If both deals go ahead, the large format web offset (LFWO) sector in Australia would consolidate from five major players to two, a significant drop in competition. The PMP/IPMG merger is currently under the ACCC’s microscope; however, an ACCC spokesperson told Print21 there would be no similar process for IVE Group’s bids.

“The ACCC has considered the proposed transactions and decided that a public review will not need to be conducted,” the spokesperson said.

Lorraine Cassin, National Print Division Secretary AMWU.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is not surprised at the merger announcement, with Lorraine Cassin, National Print Division Secretary AMWU, saying she hopes the buyouts will not cost jobs. “We’ve seen overcapacity and price wars in the industry for some time. With the announcement of PMP and IPMG possibly merging, it doesn’t come as a surprise for us at all that Blue Star would also consider mergers. We hope it will help the industry and make it more vibrant, but we’ve seen this coming for a long time – rationalisation is what we’ve been expecting,” she said.

Submissions to the ACCC’s public review into the PMP/IPMG merger closed on November 18, and the consumer watchdog is expected to hand down its findings – either a go-ahead or a “Statement of Issues” for further investigation – on December 22. Despite the significant consolidation of the industry represented by these two big mergers, the ACCC’s decision to wave through IVE Group’s deal could mean smooth sailing for PMP and IPMG.

IVE Group’s takeover of Franklin Web and AIW is expected to be effective on December 13.

 

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