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Should AdventTopco acquire GfK? CCCS seeks public feedback

The proposed sale will combine GfK and NielsenIQ.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is seeking consultation from the public on the AI PAVE Dutcho I B.V. (AdventTopco) proposed acquisition of market research company, GfK SE.

In a statement, the proposed transaction will combine GfK and Advent Topco subsidiary, NielsenIQ. The application from the two parties was sent to CCCS on 31 October 2022.

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CCCS is evaluating whether the proposed transaction, if carried into effect, would infringe section 54 of the Competition Act 2004, which bans “mergers which have resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market in Singapore.”

On the parties’ take, the proposed transaction will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in Singapore because:

i. There are no material barriers to entry or expansion in the Relevant Market as the key input (i.e., survey data) for CMR services is widely available and there are limited operating costs required to provide such services;

ii. Customers can switch easily between suppliers of CMR services. CMR activities are carried out on an ad hoc, project-by-project basis such that each CMR activity that a provider undertakes is tailored to respond to a customer’s specific needs. There are also no barriers to switching for customers on a project-by-project basis. Further, any barriers to switching during an instruction are generally low in terms of cost and time needed;

iii. Customers can carry out their own customised market research in-house rather than using a third-party CMR provider, through the use of online survey platforms; and

iv. There are numerous strong existing and potential competitors who can easily expand or enter the Relevant Market, and would be able to exercise strong competitive constraints on the merged entity.

The public feedback on the matter will be from 9 November 2022 to 23 November 2022, 5 p.m. 

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