Australian watchdog raises concerns over Pacific Magazines-Bauer deal

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Australia’s competition regulator on Thursday raised concerns about the proposed sale of Seven West Media Ltd’s Pacific Magazines to Germany-based Bauer Media.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was particularly concerned about the impact of the proposed acquisition on some key weekly magazine titles.

“Bauer’s Woman’s Day competes closely with New Idea, owned by Pacific Magazines, and Bauer’s Take 5 magazine competes strongly with Pacific Magazines’ That’s Life,” the ACCC said.

The regulator said its preliminary view was that if Bauer purchases Pacific “it would allow Bauer to reduce the effort put into content production and the range of content, or to increase prices”.

While noting the dramatic revenue fall in the magazine market, the ACCC observed that competition within markets has an important role to play to protect consumers, even in declining markets.

The ACCC said it will not oppose Seven West Media’s proposed acquisition of Prime Media Group, anticipating divestment of some radio networks by Seven. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)