German Competition Authority

10/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/26/2021 03:49

Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Mittelbayerische Zeitung by Verlagsgesellschaft Passau

Date of issue:26.10.2021

The Bundeskartellamthas cleared plans by the publishing house Verlagsgesellschaft Passauto acquire all the shares in Mittelbayerische MedienHolding

Mittelbayerische MedienHolding is the parent company of Mittelbayerische Verlagsgruppewhich publishes in particular the regional subscription daily "Mittelbayerische Zeitung" in the greater Regensburg area. Verlagsgesellschaft Passaumainly publishes the regional subscription dailies "Passauer Neue Presse" in the greater Passau area and "Donaukurier" in the greater Ingolstadt area. In addition, both companies are also active in other business sectors, e.g. the publication of advertising newspapers.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "The acquisition of Mittelbayerische Zeitung by Verlagsgesellschaft Passau does not raise any competition concerns. The circulation areas of the newspapers concerned overlap only marginally so that it cannot be assumed that there is a competitive relationship between the parties involved."

An overlap that had existed until recently in the print advertising business sector in Regensburg has meanwhile been eliminated as the Regensburg edition of "Wochenblatt", an affiliate of Verlagsgesellschaft Passau, was discontinued. The Bundeskartellamtcould take this development into account in its competitive assessment of the altered notification of the project. Firstly, Verlagsgesellschaft Passaucredibly demonstrated that the edition's business was always in deficit, a situation that was expected to worsen even more according to the business forecast. Secondly, several earlier efforts to sell the business had been unsuccessful.

In the case of newspaper mergers, the Bundeskartellamtalways examines the effects which the projects will have on the reader markets and on the advertising markets. The authority can only examine a merger based on whether it is expected to significantly impede competition in the markets affected. The criterion applied in this respect is whether readers will have sufficient choice post merger, even though diversity of opinion per se is not a separate assessment criterion under competition law.

Press release (pdf)