ACCC gives green light for Seven West Media merger with Prime Media Group

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Australia’s competition regulator says it will not oppose Seven West Media’s proposed acquisition of regional operator Prime Media.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission on Thursday ruled the planned takeover will not lessen competition or choice for advertisers and consumers.

“This is because Seven West Media and Prime are not particularly close competitors in the supply of advertising opportunities or the supply of media content, and other competitors will constrain the merged entity,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

The competition watchdog had also greenlit a similar proposal by Seven to acquire Prime in 2019, which ultimately did not find support among Prime’s shareholders.

The two parties returned to the table earlier this year, with Seven West in November announcing a $132 million deal to acquire the regional broadcaster under which Seven West will acquire Prime’s business and assets as a going concern.

The deal is expected to deliver cost savings, improved margins and better scale across regional and metro areas to the combined entity.

Most of Prime’s broadcast content is currently supplied by Seven West Media, although it produces regional news programming in some areas.

Seven has said Prime shareholders owning 43.5 per cent of the capital – including major shareholders Australian Community Media chairman Antony Catalano and WIN TV owner Bruce Gordon – had indicated support for the transaction.

Prime shareholders will vote on the proposal on December 23.

By 1110 AEST, Seven West shares were down 3.1 per cent to 62 cents, while Prime Media shares were up 1.1 per cent to 43 cents.

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