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ACCC opens brief submission period on IVE’s bid for Ovato

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is calling for submissions on IVE Group’s proposed acquisition of Ovato - announced this week - and whether it’s likely to lessen competition. 

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 “IVE Group (IVE) (ASX: IGL) proposes to acquire all or substantially all, or a material part or parts of, the business or assets of Ovato Limited and its subsidiaries,” the ACCC said. “IVE and Ovato both supply heatset web offset printing services, which are used to print advertising catalogues and magazines.

“Given Ovato is in administration, the ACCC is undertaking its investigation on a truncated basis, and is seeking submissions by 17 August 2022,” the commission said. 

“The ACCC will publish a provisional decision date on its mergers register in due course, however, industry participants should expect the timeline to be significantly shorter than typical ACCC informal merger reviews.”

Screen Shot 2022 08 11 at 2.05.49 pmCorporate regulator the ACCC is an independent statutory authority that investigates whether mergers or acquisitions are likely to substantially lessen competition.

“Submissions are invited from interested parties regarding IVE’s proposed acquisition of Ovato,” it said. “We are seeking your views on:

- whether customers of catalogue and magazine printing services require particular types of printing methods (for example, heatset web offset printing) to produce printed materials that are suitable for their needs, including the extent to which coldset web offset printing is a viable alternative

- whether demand for catalogue and magazine printing services has changed, including the extent to which customers are switching from printed materials to digital or online publications and marketing

- the availability of alternative suppliers of catalogue and magazine printing services, and how the alternative compares to IVE and/or Ovato on factors such as price and quality

- the extent to which suppliers of other printing services (for example, newspaper publishers) could competitively print catalogues and magazines

- the likelihood of new entry or expansion into the supply of catalogue and magazine printing services in Australia, including the costs and lead times (for example, to source printing presses and personnel)

- what would happen to the Ovato business/assets if the sale to IVE does not proceed, and

- any other competition concerns relevant to the ACCC’s consideration of the proposed acquisition.

The ACCC says it will treat any comments confidentially and will not publish submissions regarding the proposed acquisition. 

“We will not disclose submissions to third parties (except our advisors/consultants) unless compelled by law (for example, under freedom of information legislation or during court proceedings) or in accordance with s155AAA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Where the ACCC is required to disclose confidential information, the ACCC will notify you in advance where possible so that you may have an opportunity to be heard. Therefore, if the information provided to the ACCC is of a confidential nature, please indicate as such. Our Informal Merger Review Process Guidelines contain more information on confidentiality.”

Send comments to mergers@accc.gov.au with the title “Submission re: IVE/Ovato – attention Olivia King / Stella Leung” or call Olivia King on (03) 9290 1498 to set up a phone discussion.