The ACCC has decided to not oppose six financial institutions (ANZ, CBA, Citigroup, GE Capital, NAB and Westpac) each taking a 4% shareholding in a new credit reporting agency, Experian Australia Credit Services. Experian Australia Credit Services is a proposed joint venture between the financial institutions and Experian Group, a London based global provider of credit reporting services, which will have a 76% shareholding.
The ACCC formed the view that the proposed joint venture would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any of the markets examined. Their investigation focused on whether the financial institutions would have the incentive to restrict the supply of credit information and customers to incumbent credit reporting agencies and in doing so negatively affect the competitive position of these agencies. The ACCC also examined whether the financial institutions could leverage their position in the joint venture to discriminate against rival lenders.
ACCC was satisfied that the six financial institutions are sponsoring Experian Group's entry in order to bring a new supplier into the market for credit reporting services and achieve lower prices. They concluded that the principal incentive of the financial institutions is to foster competition among their suppliers rather than to replace one dominant supplier with another.
The ACCC issued a Public Competition Assessment as it considered that the formation of the proposed joint venture raises issues of interest to the public.