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Commission Clears Computershare Registry Services

Commission Clears Computershare Registry Services To Acquire BT Portfolio Services

The Commerce Commission today cleared Computershare Registry Services Limited to acquire all the shares or assets of BT Portfolio Services (NZ) Limited.

Both companies provide registry services for companies and other entities that issue equities and other securities.

Commission Chair John Belgrave said that the Commission was satisfied that, should the acquisition go ahead, the merged entity would not acquire or strengthen dominance in any market. In this case, the relevant markets are national markets for the provision of registry services to:

* listed companies that issue equities, and * listed companies and other entities that issued fixed interest securities.

Only one other company, BK Registries, operates in these markets, and the proposed acquisition would give the merged entity a very high share of each market.

However, in these two markets the potential for new entry is likely to provide strong constraint on the merged entity. In addition, BK's strength and its ability to expand are also likely to provide reasonably strong constraint.

"The Commission is satisfied that there are sufficient constraints in the relevant markets such that dominance will not be acquired or strengthened," Mr Belgrave said.

Background

Computershare made its application before amendments to the Commerce Act took effect on May 26.

Before the amendments, the Act prohibited business acquisitions that resulted in dominance being acquired or strengthened in a market. The amended Act prohibits acquisitions that substantially lessen competition (SLC) in a market.

The Commission took the view that applications on hand at May 26 should be investigated under the law as it was when the applications were made.

Yesterday, the Auckland High Court released a judgment upholding the Commission's view and ruling that the dominance test should be applied.

Mr Belgrave said that it is important to note that the Court's decision applies to only those applications on hand at May 26. Applications made on or after May 26 will be investigated under the SLC test.

Ends


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