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Commission approves purchaser for Winc

Commission approves purchaser for Winc to address competition concerns

The Commerce Commission has approved a purchaser for Winc NZ Limited (Winc) to address its competition concerns regarding Platinum’s acquisition of rival stationery and office products firm OfficeMax.

The Commission has approved the purchase of Winc by TSPV1 Limited (a subsidiary of the Tiri Group Limited). The transaction was completed on 2 July 2018.

Winc and OfficeMax are the two largest suppliers of stationery and office products to large corporate and government customers in New Zealand.

Platinum acquired Winc in March 2017, and in April 2017 sought to acquire OfficeMax. Platinum had not applied for clearance to acquire OfficeMax and the Commission was concerned that the acquisition would be likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of stationery and office products to large corporate and government customers.

In November 2017 the Commission joined Complete Office Supplies’ High Court injunction proceedings to prevent the acquisition.

In April 2018, Platinum provided an undertaking to the Commission and the Court committing to divest Winc to a purchaser approved by the Commission once Platinum acquired OfficeMax.

Background
Section 47 of the Commerce Act prohibits acquisitions that are likely to substantially lessen competition. The Commission administers a voluntary regime that allows businesses to apply for clearance if they consider their planned acquisition could raise competition issues. If firms do not apply for clearance, the Commission can initiate an investigation into a proposed or completed merger under section 47. If a person breaches section 47 they may be subject to a penalty of up to $500,000 for an individual or $5 million for a firm.

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