The Irish Competition Authority has granted approval to HMV Ireland for the acquisition of certain assets of Zavvi Retail Ireland, which is in liquidation. The Authority's decision comes a record eight-days after the filing of the notification by the parties, a timescale which substantially undercuts the 21 day average set by the Authority for approval of notifications in Phase I during 2008. Under the Competition Acts, the Authority has up to 30 days to complete a Phase I investigation.
One reason for the record approval was the unusual decision taken by the Authority to reduce its standard public consultation period; under Irish competition law, the Authority has the discretion to do this where such a decision is in the public interest. HMV and Zavvi are both active in the retail of pre-recorded music, films electronic games and peripherals in Ireland and it is understood that the transaction centres on the acquisition of a number of Zavvi's Irish stores.
The reasons for the Authority's decision to grant approval are expected to by published shortly. The fact that the Authority may clear a transaction without having to first publish or adopt reasons helps expedite the process enormously.