The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said on Thursday it had granted unconditional merger authorisation to Gumtree’s proposed acquisition of Cox Media, saying it has given authorisation for the merger after concluding 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 ACCC noted that Carsales is the leading provider of online automotive classified advertising in Australia and is a significant competitive constraint on Gumtree and Cox Media.
“Facebook Marketplace is also a growing competitor to Gumtree and Cox Media in the supply of online automotive classifieds services,” the Commission said.
The ACCC has granted unconditional merger authorisation to Gumtree’s proposed acquisition of Cox Australia Media Solutions (Cox Media), allowing Gumtree Cars to be combined with Cox Media’s Carsguide and Autotrader sites.
“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.
“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,” Mr 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.”
The ACCC said it also investigated the impact of the acquisition on the supply of online display advertising on digital automotive content providers, and was satisfied that the acquisition is “unlikely to result in a reduction of competition for supplying online display advertising to advertisers wishing to target potential car buyers”.
“Many advertisers use third parties to place targeted advertisements to individual consumers based on browsing history data on a wide range of websites.
“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,” Sims said.