The ACCC is due to hand down its ruling on the proposed acquisition by Amazon.com of the popular online book store Book Depository, although there has been some delay while the ACCC awaits further information from the merger parties.
In July 2011, Amazon announced its proposed acquisition of the popular online bookseller, The Book Depository International Limited. The Book Depository is an online book shop which sells books through its own website and third party websites. Both Amazon and The Book Depository sell books worldwide and in Australia via the internet. Several book seller and author trade bodies were quick to voice their opposition to the proposed acquisition.
The Competition Authority of Ireland concluded a three week investigation on 26 July 2011, finding that the proposed acquisition would not result in a substantial lessening of competition. Without defining the market, the regulator found that the presence of ‘brick and mortar’ and online sellers in Ireland, including international sellers, meant that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns.
The UK Office of Fair Trading has been examining the proposed merger since 5 July 2011 and cleared it on 26 October 2011, considering that competition would continue to exist in both top selling book titles and “deep range”, less popular titles. The OFT’s press release notes that there was limited pre-merger competition between Amazon and The Book Depository’s own website. While the OFT found that there was competition between Amazon and a number of other retailers using Amazon Marketplace, including The Book Depository, competition within Amazon Marketplace would continue to be strong post-merger, for a wide range of book titles.