Jan 10 A federal court ruled against Bazaarvoice
Inc's $168.2 million acquisition of its main rival
PowerReviews Inc, saying the deal could lead to one firm
dominating the online product rating and review market, a court
The U.S. Justice Department sued Bazaarvoice last year,
calling the deal anticompetitive, and tried to force it to sell
For its part, Bazaarvoice, which helps companies run online
consumer reviews, said its buy of PowerReviews would not cut
competition and pointed to Amazon.com and Google
as potential rapid entrants in the ratings and review
market, according to the filing.
Federal judge William Orrick said in his ruling dated Jan. 8
that Bazaarvoice violated the law by purchasing its closest and
only serious competitor, creating the likelihood of an
anticompetitive effect in the ratings and review market in the
The ruling was entered in the federal court website late on
"While Bazaarvoice indisputably operates in a dynamic and
evolving field, it did not present evidence that the evolving
nature of the market itself precludes the merger's likely
anticompetitive effects," Judge Orrick wrote.
In light of the ruling, the U.S. government would be
entitled to an injunction that requires Bazaarvoice to divest
PowerReviews, the filing showed.
However, Judge Orrick said divestment "is not a simple
proposition" 18 months after the acquisition, and has scheduled
a hearing for Jan. 22 to record the parties' perspectives on an
Bazaarvoice said in a statement late on Thursday that it is
disappointed with the ruling, but will not make a decision
regarding an appeal until after the court concludes the remedy
phase of the litigation.
"We believe that the merger with PowerReviews has been
beneficial to customers. With the court's decision, we will now
do everything we can to help ensure that the final order
achieves the best outcome for our clients, shareholders, and
employees," Gene Austin, president of Bazaarvoice said.
Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews help companies use social media
to advertise and also try to control any damage to clients'
reputations from bad reviews.
PowerReviews business helps online retailers set up customer
review sections on their websites so that they could compete