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Commission grants clearance to SKYCITY

18 May 2003

Commission grants clearance to SKYCITY

The Commerce Commission has cleared SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited to acquire all the shares and assets of Aspinall (NZ) Limited.

Aspinall holds approximately 40.5 percent in Christchurch Casinos Limited, which owns and operates the Christchurch Casino.

Chair Paula Rebstock said that the Commission was satisfied that the proposed acquisition would not have, nor would be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in the Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin casino entertainment markets.

“In the regional markets assessed by the Commission, there is only a single casino operator in both the pre acquisition and post acquisition scenarios. Therefore, the SkyCity/Aspinall transaction does not result in any aggregation of market share in those markets.

“The Commission also considers that there would be sufficient existing competition to constrain the combined entity from exercising market power in the national casino entertainment market for premium gamblers,” said Ms Rebstock.

“The key factors supporting this conclusion are the combination of existing competitors in the form of international casinos, the ability of premium gamblers to readily switch the casinos they visit and the importance of premium gambler visits to casinos.”

A public version of the Commission’s decision will be available shortly on www.comcom.govt.nz under Adjudication.

ENDS

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