Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition initiated ex officioassessment of non-notified concentration arising from the 2012 acquisition of a 50% stake in "Politika newspapers and magazines", a publisher of the oldest Serbian daily "Politika" and various other magazines, by the company East Media Group. As part of the investigation, the Commission issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting East Media Group from transferring any portion of its stake held in the acquired company until the end of the proceedings.
On 29 2012, until then an unknown company East Media Group, registered in Russian Federation, signed the agreement with Ost Holding GmbH, a subsidiary of WAZ, on sale and purchase of a 50% stake in Politika. The transaction was never notified to the Commission. Following the news on the transaction, the Commission began an informal inquiry of the true ownership structure of East Media Group. However, according to information in the Commission's 2013 Annual Report, such efforts were faced with obstructions.
According to the Protection of Competition Act, a concentration arises, inter alia, by acquisition, directly or indirectly, of sole or joint control over other undertaking or parts of undertaking. A concentration is notifiable to the Commission if: (i) the total annual turnover of all undertakings concerned generated world-wide in the year preceding the concentration exceeds 100 million euros, and at least one undertaking concerned generated in the same period on the Serbian market a turnover of more than 10 million euros, or (ii) the total annual turnover of at least two undertakings concerned generated on the Serbian market in the year preceding the concentration exceeds 20 million euros, and at least two undertakings concerned generated on the Serbian market more than 1 million euros each in the same period.
A concentration in the form of acquisition should be notified by the acquirer within 15 days following the conclusion of the agreement or other event leading to such concentration. A failure to notify the concentration is subject to a fine of up to 10% of the infringer's total annual turnover.
When the Commission suspects that a notifiable concentration has not been notified, it is authorized to initiate ex officio examination of non-notified concentration and decide on the permissibility of concentration within four months from the initiation of investigation. In case the Commission finds that a concentration is not permissible, it is authorized to order de-concentration measures.