ACCC investigating the Bing/Yahoo! merger in AU


I got this email today from the ACCC.  They are investigating the search arrangement between Microsoft and Yahoo! here in Australia (as was expected)

As you may be aware, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) is a statutory authority with responsibility for administering the Australian Government’s competition and consumer protection laws. As part of its functions, the ACCC assesses the likely effect of mergers and acquisitions on competition.
 
The ACCC is currently examining the proposed search engine agreement between Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and Yahoo! Inc (Yahoo!) in relation to online search engine advertising. The ACCC will assess the proposed transaction in accordance with its Merger Review Process Guidelines and section 50 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the Act). Section 50 of the Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions that substantially lessen competition in a market, or are likely to do so.
 
The ACCC is conducting market inquiries to assess whether or not the proposed transaction would be likely to raise competition concerns. 
The ACCC understands that Maxus is a major advertising agency which providing online marketing solutions, including search marketing, to its advertising clients. Accordingly, I would welcome any comments that your organisation may wish to make in relation to any effects the proposed acquisition may have on competition. Please refer to the attached market inquiries letter for further information.
 
The closing date for submissions is Friday 16 October 2009. If you wish to provide a submission, but require additional time, please advise by email or on the contact details below.
 
If you wish to keep up to date on the timeline for this merger or other mergers that the ACCC is considering on a public basis, details are available on the ACCC website (
http://www.accc.gov.au/mergersregister). For details on this merger, scroll down and click on the link titled Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc – proposed search engine agreement.  
 
Please feel free to pass on this information to anyone who may be interested.

More thorough information available here – http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/885870/fromItemId/750991

Personally I can’t see unexpected occuring as a result of the investigation … Google has around 90-95% of the search market here so combining MSFT and Yahoo!’s search engines isn’t going to alter the competitive landscape in any adverse way.

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