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Investigation Opened Into Objectives’ Acquisition Of Master Business Systems

The Commerce Commission has opened an investigation into Objective Corporation Limited’s acquisition of Master Business Systems Limited (MBS).

The Commission will consider whether the acquisition would be likely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market in breach of section 47 of the Commerce Act. Objective did not apply for clearance for the acquisition which occurred on 29 November 2019.

Objective and MBS are both suppliers of software used to lodge building consent applications and manage the building consent process. Their brands include Objective Trapeze, AlphaOne, GoGet and GoMobile.

The focus of the investigation will be on the extent of competition that is likely to have been lost between Objective and MBS as a result of the acquisition, and the extent to which the merged entity will likely be constrained from raising prices or lowering the quality of either its products or associated services.

The Commission invites parties who consider they hold relevant information to contact the Commission by email to registrar@comcom.govt.nz with the reference Objective/MBS in the subject line by 15 June 2020.

Background
Section 47 of the Commerce Act prohibits acquisitions that are likely to substantially lessen competition. The Commission administers a voluntary notification regime that allows firms 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 acquisition 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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