NERA’s Role in the Seven West Media Acquisition of The Sunday Times and from News Limited

The Situation

In 2016, the ACCC commenced a review of the proposed acquisition by Seven West Media of The Sunday Times and from News Limited.

NERA's Role

NERA was engaged by counsel to Seven West Media to provide expert evidence for filing with the ACCC. There were a number of issues and questions that proved key to the matter. NERA consultants determined if the two-sided nature of news media platforms expands the set of constraints that would place pressure on the reader-side quality and pricing of the merged entity. The NERA team also offered expert analysis to determine if there was sufficient evidence to conclude that online news websites and daily newspapers compete in the same market on the reader-side and if online news websites and the broader set of online media (e.g., Facebook and Google) compete in the same market on the advertiser-side.

Also key to the analysis was a determination of whether it was appropriate to carve out an “older demographic” on the reader-side, for whom other sources of news and information are not substitutes for print newspapers and advertisers targeting this older demographic group. Finally, the team determined whether low barriers to expansion and ease of unbundling facilitated by the internet mean the merged entity would be constrained on the reader-side by the ABC and Fairfax, as well as more specialist providers.

The Result

On 15 September 2016, the ACCC announced it would not oppose the proposed acquisition.