Weelee allowed to intervene in Naspers’s WeBuyCars deal
The Competition Tribunal has issued an order recognising Weelee (Pty) Ltd as a participant in the merger proceedings involving online car retailer, WeBuyCars, and Naspers controlled MIH Ecommerce.
This follows Weelee’s application last week to be recognised as an “intervenor” in the merger proceedings. It argued that it is a competitor to WeBuyCars and while it has been called as a witness for the Commission, this status does not afford it sufficient protections over its own interests. The merging parties opposed Weelee’s application.
In terms of the Tribunal’s order, Weelee’s participation in the merger proceedings shall include the right to:
- access the Commission’s record and any additional documents filed by the merging parties. Standard confidentiality arrangements will apply;
- lead the evidence of Weelee’s CEO, limited to the evidence contained in his witness statement and to the extent that the evidence has not been led by the Commission; and
- cross-examine the merging parties’ witnesses, to the extent that this does not result in a duplication of the Commission’s cross examination.
Weelee’s rights granted by the Tribunal are subject to there being no disruption to the Tribunal’s existing timetable for the hearing; adherence by Weelee to any timetable or time allocation set by the Tribunal; and limitations imposed by the Tribunal from time to time during the course of proceedings.
Weelee is an online intermediary which facilitates the sale of used vehicles by private individuals to second-hand vehicle dealers.
MIH Ecommerce owns the AutoTrader platform and online marketplace, OLX.
The Commission – which assesses large mergers before referring them to the Tribunal for a final decision – recommended in May this year that the proposed transaction should be prohibited as it is likely to substantially prevent or lessen competition. It said that the merger could stop other businesses with similar activities from entering the market(s) and the merged entity would dominate any competitors.
MIH eCommerce and WeBuyCars, however, oppose the Commission’s prohibition recommendation and the Tribunal is set to hear evidence and argument in the matter from 14 October 2019.
Gillian de Gouveia
Tel: +27 (0) 12 394 1383
Cell: +27 (0) 82 410 1195
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