ACCC concerns over Bauer takeover of Pacific Magazines

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised concerns about the proposed $40 million sale of Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media with the key sticking point being it would rid Bauer of two key weekly competitors.

If the deal was to go through Pacific Magazines’ New Idea title, which competes with Bauer’s Woman’s Day, would come under the Bauer stable, along with Pacific’s That’s Life magazine which targets a similar market to Bauer’s Take 5.

In terms of the printing contracts for these titles, Ovato, which recently opened its supersite in Sydney’s Warwick Farm and launched its new 80 page manroland Lithoman, prints all 34 of Bauer Media’s titles including Woman’s Day and the Australian Women’s Weekly.

The other key player in the catalogue and magazine printing market, IVE Group, prints the Pacific Magazine titles.

When the proposed purchase was first announced in October both Ovato and IVE Group released statements indicating they both have strong relationships with each publishing company.

“If Bauer bought Pacific Magazines, Bauer would remove its closest competitor in certain segments. Our preliminary view is that this would allow Bauer to reduce the effort put into content production and the range of content, or to increase prices,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“While there is free online content available that resembles the content in these magazines, many consumers still value the physical format of magazines, the packaging together of stories, puzzles, prizes and other content, and the style of the articles produced by each magazine.

“Our preliminary view is that many readers have a strong preference for print magazines in the key weekly categories.”

The ACCC has published a statement of issues outlining its preliminary concerns. It invites submissions from interested parties by 14 February 2020. The ACCC’s final decision is scheduled for 2 April 2020.

Further information is available at Bauer Media Pty Limited – Pacific Magazines Pty Ltd.  

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