On 1 March 2017 the Italian Competition Authority (the "ICA") conditionally cleared the merger between two Italian leading companies (namely, Italiana Editrice S.p.A. and Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso S.p.A., hereinafter the "Companies") both operating in the publishing industry sector.
In particular, the ICA ordered the acquiring party (Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso S.p.A.) to assign to an indpendent third party the local advertising sales market in relation to Genoa’s and Turin’s editions of the daily newspaper "La Repubblica".
Indeed, after having analyzed data referring to the overall functioning of the markets affected by the merger, the ICA found that it would set a monopoly in local advertising sales markets in the provinces of Genoa and Turin. In such analysis, the ICA also considered the presence of other different competitors beside the Companies, their features, the market power of the local advertisers and the Companies’ price trends for running advertisement.
The ICA finally stated that the merger, upon the execution of the above conditions, could not create or strengthen a dominant position capable of reducing competition in the publishing industry sector and advertising sales markets.
This decision shows the growing trend of the ICA in adopting conditions for mergers and seeking divestments.