ACCC takes fight up to digital giants

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 19 : 26-Feb-20

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has advised that it now has more than 10 active investigations into digital platforms, compared with five when the final report into its landmark inquiry into the sector was released in July. ACCC chairman Rod Sims says it is examining both competition and consumer issues in relation to digital platforms. He notes that the use and abuse of consumers’ data by such platforms is one of the key concerns.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED

Bauer boss urges ACCC: think digital

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 27-Jan-20

Bauer Media Australian CEO Brendon Hill has urged the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to approve the proposed $40m merger with Pacific Magazines. The ACCC’s statement of issues identified concerns such as the potential for the prices of some magazines to rise and for their quality to decline. Hill is disappointed that the ACCC chose to focus on four titles, and he argues that the magazine market is much broader. He has also rejected suggestions that Bauer would discontinue some Pacific titles.

CORPORATES
BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Code of conduct needed for market failure: Sims

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 31 : 18-Nov-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has stressed the need for technology giants such as Google and Facebook to be subject to a code of conduct in their negotiations with traditional media companies. He has identified this as the most important recommendation arising from the ACCC’s inquiry into digital platforms. He notes that technology companies have made some progress in reducing the imbalance in bargaining power, adding that a code would facilitate this process.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, SKY NEWS, JUNKEE MEDIA PTY LTD, PEDESTRIAN TV, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY

New ACCC case targets Google

Original article by Paul Smith, Yolanda Redrup
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 & 22 : 5-Nov-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is preparing an antitrust case against Google over the collapse of mobile advertising group Unlockd. The ACCC’s case will centre on whether Google’s conduct in relation to Unlockd constituted a breach of section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act, which prohibits the misuse of market power. Google is also the subject of antitrust proceedings in the US.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, UNLOCKD PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, ROKT PTY LTD, FITBIT INCORPORATED

Comyn claims ACCC exaggeration but welcomes probe

Original article by Bo Seo
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 & 17 : 17-Oct-19

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn and chair Catherine Livingstone are supportive of a new inquiry into mortgage pricing. However, Comyn has questioned the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s claim that the pricing gap for new and existing customers of the nation’s major banks is 32 basis points. He says this gap is significantly lower than 30 basis points at CBA. Livingstone notes that the bank takes into account the interests of borrowers, deposit-holders and shareholders when deciding upon its mortgage pricing.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Regionals undercut bigger bank rivals

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 16-Oct-19

Analysis by RateCity shows that some of Australia’s regional banks are currently offering much lower variable home loan interest rates than the ‘big four’ bank. However, Victor German of Macquarie Group notes that existing customers at some of the smaller banks are also paying much higher mortgage interest rates than new customers. The mortgage pricing of smaller banks is among the issues that will be examined by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s new inquiry into the sector.

CORPORATES
RATECITY PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SUNCORP BALANCED PROPERTY FUND, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, MACQUARIE BANK LIMITED – ASX MBL, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AMP BANK LIMITED, ING BANK (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

ACCC to investigate high cost of low speed NBN plans

Original article by James Fennessy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 19 : 15-Oct-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will undertake an investigation into NBN Co’s wholesale pricing. The focus of the investigation will be on whether NBN has concentrated too much on developing products for those who want high internet access speeds at the expense of consumers who only want low internet speeds. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has warned that a significant section of the community will be excluded from getting an NBN service if its prices increase any further.

CORPORATES
NBN CO LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK

Banks face heat over loyalty tax

Original article by Patrick Durkin, James Frost, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 7-Oct-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has suggested that the nation’s banks are trying to "dud" their loyal customers. Sims, who is hoping Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will grant the ACCC’s request to conduct an inquiry into the competitive strength of the big banks, was commenting on the gap between mortgage interest rates offered to new borrowers and those offered to existing customers; the gap is generally half a percentage point. The banks have argued in private that it is not possible to offer the same competitive rates to all borrowers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, EVANS AND PARTNERS PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED

‘We’re here to help’ pledge challenged

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 23 : 30-Sep-19

Australia’s commercial free-to-air TV networks argue that regulation of digital giants such as Google and Facebook is necessary. Nine Entertainment’s group director of regulatory affairs, Clare Gill, has stressed the need for a regulated response from the federal government, to ensure a level playing field for traditional media companies and digital platforms. Ten’s COO Annabelle Hird has expressed concern that digital platforms’ behaviour will not change unless they are subject to a code of conduct or monitoring by the ACCC.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, CBS CORPORATION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, INTERNATIONAL NEWS MEDIA ASSOCIATION

Big Tech inquiry lauded abroad

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 25 : 5-Aug-19

The final report of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s inquiry into digital platforms has received strong support from the global media industry. News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern says the US government should hold a similar inquiry into the market power of digital players such as Google and Facebook. Meanwhile, the UK News Media Association’s deputy CEO Lynne Anderson says the federal government should act quickly on the ACCC’s recommendations.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, NEWS MEDIA ALLIANCE, NEWS MEDIA ASSOCIATION, GREAT BRITAIN. COMPETITION AND MARKETS AUTHORITY, EUCLID LAW