The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has given the all-clear to A&R Whitcoulls Group Holdings to acquire Borders local operations.
ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, said the ACCC considered the constraint provided by existing book chains such as Dymocks and the possible expansion of these chains to further constrain the merged entity after the acquisition.
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“The ACCC also took into account the partial constraint imposed by department and discount department stores, which offer a small range of books at competitive prices, as well as small chains and independent book retailers,” Samuel said.
“These tend to compete more on the basis of service and specialist ranges which cater to particular customers’ needs.”
There were only two bidders in the hunt for the 24-store trans-Tasman operations of Borders after Dymocks pulled out of the bidding war last November. One was the parent of A&R Whitcoulls, Pacific Equity Partners, the other a partnership between New Zealand’s independent Paper Plus franchise operation and an unidentified organisation.
A&R Whitcoulls has 65 stores in New Zealand and 180 Angus & Robertson stores in Australia. Pacific Equity Partners bought the business in 2004.