The Commission has granted Trade Me Limited (Trade Me) clearance to acquire PropertyNZ Limited.
Trade Me Property is the largest online residential listings platform in New Zealand. PropertyNZ Limited owns and operates the homes.co.nz website (Homes). While Homes also displays listings on its website, its primary focus is providing property data/information to consumers, such as estimated house values.
In our June Statement of Unresolved Issues, the Commission raised potential concerns that the acquisition might prevent Homes developing into a significant competitor to Trade Me for property listings. The Commission also had potential concerns that the acquisition could make it harder for other property platforms to set up or grow by combining the respective strengths of Trade Me and Homes (ie listings and property data/information) into a single entity.
However, Chair Anna Rawlings said the Commission is satisfied that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any New Zealand market.
“We are aware of the harm to competition that can arise when a larger firm buys a growing competitor, and we thoroughly tested whether Homes would develop into a significant competitor. However, evidence received since we issued our Statement of Unresolved Issues has satisfied us Homes is unlikely to become a significant competitor for real estate listings.”
“We are also satisfied that any benefits that Trade Me may obtain from combining its listings offering with Homes’ information/data offering would not substantially affect the ability of rival platforms to compete in the market. These rivals include industry-owned Realestate.co.nz and OneRoof, which is owned by NZME,” said Ms Rawlings.
A public version of the written reasons for the decision will be available shortly on the Commission’s case register.
We will give clearance to a proposed merger if we are satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.