On 14 November 2014, the Competition Commission of Singapore (the “CCS”) published the grounds of its decision for the conditional approval of the proposed acquisition (the “Proposed Acquisition”) by SEEK Asia Investments Pte. Ltd. of 100% of the online recruitment business assets of JobStreet Corporation Berhad, including JobStreet.com Pte. Ltd.

This is a landmark decision as it is the first conditional merger clearance by the CCS for which behavioural and divestiture commitments in Singapore were required by SEEK Limited and SEEK Asia Investments Pte. Ltd.

There are various notable points from the decision. For instance, this is the first merger decision by the CCS to consider two-sided markets and the CCS remained cautious on accepting new entrants as significant competitive constraints post-merger. The CCS found that online and offline recruitment advertisements are not substitutable, and differ in terms of currentness of information, cost, lead time, purpose, functionality and access. The CCS agreed that the market is dynamic and characterised by innovation and competition, with new developments blurring the distinction between traditional job portals, aggregators and social media sites. The CCS also found that only large employers who themselves have “brand power” are less reliant on the branding of the merged entity, and can credibly threaten to vertically integrate or self-supply.

Allen & Gledhill LLP advised SEEK Limited and JobStreet Corporation Berhad in the merger notification.

Reference materials

The following materials are available from the CCS website www.ccs.gov.sg: