On June 9 2015 the Competition Commission announced that it had opened an in-depth investigation into the purchase of Ricardo by Tamedia. According to the commission's press release,(1) there were indications that the acquisition might create or strengthen a dominant position in the job advertising market. There were also indications that Tamedia/Ricardo and Ringier might be collectively dominant in the car sales advertising market in German-speaking Switzerland. Since 2008 Ricardo has belonged to South African media group Naspers. Ricardo operates online platforms ricardo.ch and ricardoshops.ch, car sales platform autoricardo.ch and classified advertising platform olx.ch.

On June 16 2015 the commission further announced that it would conduct an in-depth investigation into the purchase of JobCloud by JobScout24. According to the commission's press release,(2) it was possible that the acquisition would create or strengthen a dominant position in the job advertising market. JobCloud operates several online job advertising portals, such as jobs.ch and jobup.ch. Ringier and Tamedia each hold a 50% stake in JobCloud. JobScout24 also operates online portal jobscout24.ch for job advertising. Since JobCloud has a strong position, it was thought possible that the contemplated concentration might strengthen JobCloud's (possibly) already dominant position. The commission decided to conduct a Phase 2 examination of the proposed concentration's effects on competition.

On August 25 2015 the commission announced that it had cleared both concentrations. According to the commission's press release,(3) while Tamedia and JobCould were found to hold dominant positions in the job advertising market, the contemplated transactions were incapable of eliminating effective competition and therefore could not be prohibited. The Swiss merger control regime features a high standard of assessment compared with other jurisdictions (sometimes called the 'dominance-plus test'). According to the test, the commission can prohibit or authorise a concentration subject to conditions and obligations only if the investigation indicates that the concentration:

  • creates or strengthens a dominant position;
  • is capable of eliminating effective competition; and
  • causes harmful effects that cannot be outweighed by any improvement in competition in another market.

For further information on this topic please contact Patrick Sommer at CMS von Erlach Poncet Ltd's Zurich office by telephone (+41 44 285 11 11) or email (patrick.sommer@cms-vep.com). Alternatively, contact Pascal G Favre at CMS von Erlach Poncet Ltd's Geneva office by telephone (+41 22 311 00 10) or email (pascal.favre@cms-vep.com). The CMS von Erlach Poncet Ltd website can be accessed at www.cms-vep.com.

Endnotes

(1) See www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=fr&msg-id=57582 (available in German and French).

(2) See www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=fr&msg-id=57683 (available in German and French).

(3) See www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=fr&msg-id=58426 (available in German and French).

This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.