Genesis was retained to assess the effects of the proposed move from joint to sole control of the Natal Witness publishing group by Media24, which had evoked substantial opposition from other media groups involved in community newspaper publishing.
The theories of harm included unilateral and foreclosure effects in newspaper printing and advertising, predation and bundling in publishing, and public interest concerns for small community publishers.
The project team assisted the Competition Tribunal both by clarifying the appropriate conceptual approach and through a thorough evidence-based assessment of each of the claims. Conceptual clarity was brought to issues such as whether merger control should be concerned with potential predation after the merger or not.
The careful construction of the evidence was particularly important to the printing foreclosure case, which hinged on a proper understanding of the alternatives available at other printers, as well as their capacity and pricing. Genesis successfully demonstrated that the competition concerns had no merit and that the public interest concern was adequately addressed by the conditions proposed by Media24. The merger was granted conditional approval by the tribunal.