Google, Facebook, Twitter hit back at ACCC

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 13-Sep-19

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry final report recommended changes to merger laws. The ACCC’s flagged crackdown on mergers within the technology sector has been attacked by the Digital Industry Group Inc, which represents companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook. DIGI’s criticism came in a submission to Treasury, prior to the federal government releasing its response to the ACCC’s report.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, DIGITAL INDUSTRY GROUP INC, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, TWITTER INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED

FIRB gets tougher on China firms

Original article by Angus Grigg
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 17-Jan-19

The Foreign Investment Review Board is now said to be subjecting most takeover bids by Chinese companies to scrutiny to ensure that they are in the national interest. Regulation of such takeovers was relaxed under the Australia-China free-trade agreement, with deals that are below a certain threshold being exempt from FIRB approval. However, sources have indicated that the policy shift has been prompted by the introduction of China’s National Intelligence Law, which has increased the central government’s influence over private companies.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW BOARD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, UNITED STATES. DEPT OF DEFENSE, HEALIUS LIMITED – ASX HLS, JANGHO GROUP, AUSGRID PTY LTD, STATE GRID CORPORATION OF CHINA, APA GROUP – ASX APA, CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE LIMITED, FEDERATION OF GERMAN INDUSTRIES

Different audiences: ACCC won’t oppose Nine-Fairfax deal

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 9-Nov-18

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission advised on 8 November that it would not oppose the proposed merger between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Fairfax shareholders will now vote on the transaction on 19 November, while the Federal Court will then need to approve the deal. If both Fairfax shareholders and the Federal Court give the go-ahead for the merger, the combined entity, to be known as Nine, will begin on trading on 10 December. The ACCC cited the fact that Nine and Fairfax had mostly different content that targeted different audiences as the main reason for not opposing their merger.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, CGI GLASS LEWIS PTY LTD, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD, ISS PROXY AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION

APA shares plunge after Canberra blocks CKI buy bid

Original article by Matt Chambers, Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: Online : 9-Nov-18

Shares in APA Group fell by 10 per cent on 8 November after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg indicated his "preliminary view" on Hong Kong-listed CK Infrastructure’s $13 billion bid for the pipeline operator. Frydenberg stated he did not consider the bid to be in the "national interest"; he is expected to make his final decision in around two weeks. Superannuation fund infrastructure investor IFM is seen as the local entity most likely to make an approach to APA with a bid if Frydenberg’s views remain unchanged; any Australian-based bid for APA is expected to be lower than CKI’s

CORPORATES
APA GROUP – ASX APA, CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, IFM INVESTORS PTY LTD, WOOD MACKENZIE, COOPER ENERGY LIMITED – ASX COE, DUET GROUP, MOODY’S ANALYTICS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Fairfax, Nine deal set to get the nod

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 8-Nov-18

Brian Han of Morningstar expects the proposed merger between Nine Entertainment Company and Fairfax Media to receive regulatory approval on 8 November. Han says the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is likely to take into account the impact of digital on traditional media when deciding whether to approve the $4bn deal. Nine Entertainment posted a 2017-18 net profit of $209.7m, while Fairfax made a loss of $63.8m.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD, MEDIA, ENTERTAINMENT AND ARTS ALLIANCE, MST MARQUEE, DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX DHA, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, MACQUARIE MEDIA LIMITED – ASX MRN, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED

Watchdog to rule on CKI’s takeover of APA

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: Online : 13-Sep-18

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has approved CK Infrastructure’s $13 billion takeover of pipeline operator APA Group. The merger creates a massive pipeline company with significant infrastructure assets on both sides of the country. The Foreign Investment Review Board must now give its consent for the Hong Kong-based CKI’s bid at a time when there is a lot of political scrutiny over high gas prices. JP Morgan expects that the FIRB will approve the bid, while UBS anticipates a decision by 4 December, the date on which the transaction is due to take place.

CORPORATES
CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, APA GROUP – ASX APA, AUSTRALIA. FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW BOARD, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, TRANSURBAN GROUP LIMITED – ASX TCL, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

ACCC lashes Aurizon, Pacific National deal

Original article by Jenny Wiggins
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 25 : 20-Jul-18

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has launched legal action against Aurizon Holdings and Pacific National in the Federal Court. The ACCC is seeking to block the sale of Aurizon’s Queensland intermodal business and its Acacia Ridge terminal to Pacific National, its main business rival. The total cost of the two deals is $225 million, with Pacific National giving Aurizon a $35 million non-refundable deposit. ACCC chairman Rod Sims has compared the sale to Coles being sold to Woolworths.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AURIZON HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX AZJ, PACIFIC NATIONAL PTY LTD, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, WESFARMERS LIMITED – ASX WES, QUBE HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX QUB, QUEENSLAND. COMPETITION AUTHORITY, QUEENSLAND RESOURCES COUNCIL LIMITED, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, STANDARD AND POOR’S (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

Forrest rebuff over Rinehart bid

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 3-Jul-18

The Takeovers Panel has declined to conduct proceedings in relation to Gina Rinehart’s $A390 million offmarket bid for Atlas Iron. NCZ Investments, a unit of Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals, sought to restrain Rinehart’s bid, which is being conducted through Hancock Prospecting subsidiary Redstone, in the week ending 29 June.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. TAKEOVERS PANEL, ATLAS IRON LIMITED – ASX AGO, NCZ INVESTMENTS, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, REDSTONE CORPORATION PTY LTD

Howard in warning on mega-union

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 6-Apr-18

Former prime minister John Howard says the Federal Government should press ahead with its Ensuring Integrity Bill, which would subject union mergers to a public interest test. The bill was recently shelved after it was not passed by Parliament prior to the formal completion of the merger between the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia. Howard is concerned that the merger will lead to an "ultra-­concentration" of union power. Chris Corrigan, the former CEO of stevedoring firm Patrick Corporation, has expressed similar concerns.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA, PATRICK CORPORATION LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS

Union merger test abandoned

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 27-Mar-18

The Federal Government will not seek to block a merger between the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia. The Government has shelved plans to introduce a public interest test for union mergers after failing to secure sufficient support for the bill among crossbenchers. Australian Mines & Metals Association CEO Steve Knott and Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn have expressed disappointment with the decision.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU