ACCC warns TPG acquisition of iiNet may limit broadband competition; Former Monash academic to pay $900,000 after failed sex harassment bid: Midday Roundup

ACCC warns TPG acquisition of iiNet may limit broadband competition; Former Monash academic to pay $900,000 after failed sex harassment bid: Midday Roundup

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is calling for further information about TPG’s proposed acquisition of iiNet, amid concerns about what the transaction would mean for competition in the broadband market.

In a Statement of Issues released today, the competition watchdog said its preliminary view is the acquisition of iiNet “may lead to a substantial lessening of competition” in the supply of retail fixed broadband services, “potentially resulting in higher prices and/or degradation of the non-price offers available in the market, including customer service”.

“The ACCC is considering these issues further, including the extent of constraints posed by other competitors,” the regulator said.

However, the ACCC has formed a preliminary view that the acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the market for wholesale data transmission services and retail fixed voice, mobile voice, mobile broadband and subscription television services.

The ACCC said today’s statement is not a final decision and interested parties have until July 2 to submit responses to the statement. The ACCC has deferred its final decision to August 20.

Former Monash academic to pay $900,000 after failed sex harassment bid

An engineering professor who failed in her sexual harassment claim against Monash University is $900,000 out of pocket after the Federal Court ordered her to pay the university indemnity costs.

Judge Richard Tracey had thrown out the claim by Dr Qizhi Chen in February, finding her accusations of systematic sexual harassment “fanciful”.

Chen had made 53 claims of sexual harassment and discrimination after she failed to secure a promotion in 2011.

Tracey found Chen had previously rejected a “generous” settlement offer from the university and had been given legal advice suggesting she would be unlikely to win if she brought a case against the institution.

Chen was also ordered to pay Monash University’s legal costs.

Local shares up on open

The ASX has jumped this morning as the market bounces back from a subdued few weeks of trading.

“If it feels like a brighter morning for stocks than we’ve had in weeks, that’s because it is – three weeks in fact,” said Scott Schuberg, chief executive of Rivkin Securities, in a statement.

“The last lead of this magnitude that the ASX took was on 21 May, and we’re now looking at what could be an impulsive move upward to re-trace part of the 5750 to 5500 sell-off that we experienced previous to last night’s turnaround in overseas shares.”

“Since the selling began to ease this week, it certainly felt like a relief rally might not be far away, but the question now is whether we’ll see something sustained or short-lived.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 70.1 points to 5548.7 points at 12:00pm AEST. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed up 1.33%, jumping 236.36 points to 18,000.4 points.

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