Commission grants clearance for Verifone to acquire Smartpay

The Commerce Commission has granted clearance to Verifone New Zealand (Verifone) to acquire the assets used by Smartpay Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries to operate the Smartpay business in New Zealand (Smartpay) (the proposed acquisition).

The parties to the proposed acquisition (among other things) both supply “terminals” to retailers that are used to accept instore electronic payments. The Commission’s focus was on the impact of the proposed acquisition on competition for the supply of terminals to small and medium sized retailers.

Chair Anna Rawlings said the Commission is satisfied that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any New Zealand market.

“Although we consider that the merging parties are competitors, the presence of competing suppliers, with the ability to expand, is likely to constrain Verifone in its ability to raise prices or reduce service quality,” said Ms Rawlings.

“Post-acquisition, Verifone would continue to face competition from terminal resellers and Windcave, while Ingenico also imposes a competitive threat.”

The Commission also considered whether the proposed acquisition might give Verifone the ability and incentive to foreclose rival terminal suppliers by refusing to supply terminals or payment processing services.

Ms Rawlings said that “the Commission was satisfied there are sufficient alternatives for terminal suppliers such that Verifone would be unlikely to engage in such conduct.”

A public version of the written reasons will be available shortly on the Commission’s case register.

Background

Verifone is a global supplier of terminal and payment processing solutions. In New Zealand, it provides payment processing services, supplies terminals on a wholesale basis to resellers, and supplies terminals directly to merchants.

Smartpay imports and supplies terminals to merchants in New Zealand and Australia.

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.

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