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Pearson (NYSE: PSO) Australia’s acquisition of REDGroup’s online business, including the Borders Australia website and the website of bookstore chain Angus & Robertson, won’t give Pearson-owned publisher Penguin a monopoly over Australia’s e-book supply chain, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided.
The Australian Booksellers Association asked the ACCC to look into Pearson’s acquisition plans in July. “Having a retailer with monopolistic control of different aspects of the supply chain is not good for competition for consumers and other retailers,” ABA president Jon Page told the Canberra Times. The ABA was particularly worried that an acquisition would make it difficult for other publishers to enter the e-book market, still in the early stages in Australia.
The ACCC said it “will not oppose the completed acquisition” and “will provide a summary of the reasons for its decision in due course.”
REDGroup entered voluntary administration in February, just a day after Borders Group in the U.S. declared bankruptcy. (Borders Australia is unaffiliated with Borders in the U.S.) Since February, all remaining Borders, Angus & Robertson and Whitcoulls stores in Australia and New Zealand have closed. Angus & Robertson gift card holders weren’t happy to learn today that they will receive less than half the value of any cards they still have.