Regulator approves Maariv and Makor Rishon sales

The Antitrust Authority approved the acquisitions by "The Jerusalem Post" and "Israel Today."

Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo has approved the acquisition of Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon and the operations of news website NRG by Israel Today, and the acquisition of Israeli newspaper Maariv by The Jerusalem Post. The Antitrust Authority reported that an examination of the mergers raised no concerns that justified opposing them under the Antitrust Law.

In their examination, the Antitrust Authority found that while Israel Today is a widely distributed, free, daily newspaper, Makor Rishon Is sold at a relatively high price, particularly on weekends, with a relatively limited circulation, to a different and distinct readership. The Antitrust Authority also found that the vast majority of Makor Rishon readers are exposed to Israel Today as well already. Therefore, it was found that Israel Todays incentive to adversely influence the content of Makor Rishon is not sufficiently significant.

The antitrust commissioner also concluded that any further delay in the decision of who will buy the newspaper threatens its continued existence, and carries a risk of harming the consumers who buy it. It was therefore found that there is no risk of harming competition or harming the readership or advertisers in these respects. It was also found that the NRG and Israel Today websites are relatively limited, and that the acquisition of NRG by Israel Today does not raise concern.

The antitrust commissioners investigation of the merger between The Jerusalem Post and Maariv, focused on the connection that would be created between Maariv and the weekend newspapers Sofhashavua and Israel Post, which are owned by The Jerusalem Post. The examination found that the combined market share of Maariv, Sofhashavua, and Israel Post is relatively small, and there are other large, significant competitors in the sector. It was therefore found that the impact of the merger on competition is negligible, and the commissioner approved the merger.

Eli Azur was represented by Mattan Meridor and Moran Aumann from Agmon & Co., Rosenberg Hacohen & Co. in the antitrust proceedings for the Maariv acquisition deal.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 30, 2014

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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