3 September 2011

Tribunal's decision in Paarl Media / Primedia case likely to lead to longer investigatory periods

The Commission's decision to unconditionally approve the small merger between Paarl Media and a division of Primedia, Primedia@Home, has been set aside by the Tribunal. The Tribunal's order follows Caxton's application to the Tribunal to review the Commission's decision to approve the merger. 

In its decision, the Tribunal found that the Commission's decision was flawed as it did not properly apply its mind to the facts before it at the time of approving the merger. In contradistinction to an appeal process, the Tribunal's review was not concerned with whether the Commission's conclusions were right or wrong but rather whether there was a proper application of the Commission's mind to the facts and evidence before it.

Upholding the review application, the Tribunal sent the case back to the Commission for reassessment by a new team within the Commission. An implication of the Tribunal's decision is that in the future the Commission will be seeking to cover all bases in its reports, particularly under the current climate of procedural scrutiny. This will require the Commission to spend a considerable amount of time and energy in drafting and collating reports prior to getting the investigation report to Exco level (the Commission's decision making body) and the Tribunal. It is anticipated that this will ultimately lead to a delay in merger investigations, which from a timing perspective, may form a considerable hurdle to deal flow.

The information and material published on this website is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

We make every effort to ensure that the content is updated regularly and to offer the most current and accurate information. Please consult one of our lawyers on any specific legal problem or matter.

We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, whether direct or consequential, which may arise from reliance on the information contained in these pages.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions on the website.

Copyright © 2021 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. All rights reserved. For permission to reproduce an article or publication, please contact us cliffedekkerhofmeyr@cdhlegal.com