The NMa has applied the failing firm defence principles as laid down in the European Commission's horizontal guidelines in its decision to approve the acquisition of postal company Selekt Mail by competitor Sandd. As a result of the acquisition, only two players will remain active in the national market for addressed business mail, possibly resulting in increased mail delivery prices.
Sandd and Selekt Mail have a combined market share of 15% in the market for addressed business mail, with TNT Post being the only other player active in this national market. According to the NMa's decision, regional players only having a limited disciplinary impact on the two remaining national players and the buyer power of postal service customers will only to a limited extent act as countervailing factors to the increased market power resulting from the transaction. On this basis, the NMa concluded that the transaction could lead to a price increase of postal services, at least in the short-term. The NMa nevertheless approved the acquisition, as there was no causal link between the proposed transaction and the possible deterioration of the competitive structure in the market because: (i) Selekt Mail will inevitably exit the Dutch market because of financial reasons, and (ii) no less anti-competitive alternatives to the acquisition exist.