THE NEWS WRAP: Woolworths plays down its marketshare

Senior Woolworths executives are in Canberra claiming the supermarket giant is not as powerful as some people believe, as the federal government drafts an enforceable industry code of conduct.

 

The news comes after the competition watchdog, the ACCC, recently confirmed it has been investigating Coles and Woolworths for potential breaches of competition laws, including “unconscionable conduct” and “misuse of market power”.

 

The retail giant’s dossier includes claims it faces a tougher competitive market as a result of the rapid expansion of Aldi, that its market share is often overstated as specialty retailers are not included in marketshare figures and that just 6% of its products are private label.

 

Potential merger between Nine and Southern Cross would save $100 million a year

 

A potential merger between Nine Entertainment and regional broadcaster Southern Cross would deliver cost savings and synergies of up to $100 million a year, according to a report in The Australian.

 

However, any merger between the two companies would require Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to relax the 75% media reach rule to be approved.

 

The news comes after it was recently revealed Nine is in talks with current Ten network affiliate Southern Cross over a possible regional affiliate agreement that would see Nine dump WIN Television as its partner.

 

Westfield sell-down speculation

 

There is mounting speculation that shopping centre giant Westfield could be looking to sell down its stake in some of its Australian properties in order to fund further growth overseas.

 

Westfield currently has interests in 39 shopping centres across Australia, with at least a 50% stake in 18 centres through partnerships including the Westfield Property Trust, with at least a 25% stake in the remainder through Westfield Group.

 

With Westfield’s management agreements stipulating it needs to hold at least a 25% stake to claim management rights at its Australian properties, the shopping centre giant has room to sell down its stake in some of its Australian assets in order to partly fund its global $US12 billion development pipeline.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2% to 14,120.14. The Aussie dollar is up to $US101.75 cents.

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