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HomeNEWSMergers on the table: Smartpay + Verifone and T&G + Freshmax

Mergers on the table: Smartpay + Verifone and T&G + Freshmax

The Commerce Commission is working through applications for acquisition from four companies many retailers will be familiar with – payment terminal suppliers Verifone and Smartpay, and fresh produce suppliers Turners & Growers and Freshmax.

Verifone New Zealand + Smartpay

Verifone New Zealand applied on January 31 to the Commerce Commission to acquire Smartpay’s assets and operate its business in New Zealand. Retailers may be familiar with Verifone through its Eftpos subsidiary, through which it supplies payment terminals to merchants and resellers. Smartpay also supplies payment terminals to merchants.

The ComCom is now considering key competition issues before deciding whether or not to grant clearance. 

In a statement of preliminary issues published today, Verifone’s submission proposed that the acquisition would not substantially lessen competition for reasons which included retailers’ power to switch between payment terminal suppliers or to new alternative payment acceptance methods; the low barrier to entry and high number of competitors in the payment terminals market; and the likelihood of disruption via innovation in the payments industry.

The ComCom will make a decision on whether or not to let Verifone acquire Smartpay by 30 March 2020. 

If you’d like to comment on how this acquisition might affect your business, you can email registrar@comcom.govt.nz with the reference Verifone/Smartpay in the subject line before February 25th. You should provide a public version of your submission at the same time for publication on the Commission’s case register. 

T&G + Freshmax

In a move that’s likely to affect many retailers in the grocery industry, Turners & Growers Fresh Limited applied today to acquire Freshmax NZ. Both companies supply fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and other parties in New Zealand.

You can see a public version of the clearance application on the ComCom’s case register. It argues, in essence, that the dynamic and highly competitive wholesale fresh produce market will be unaffected by T&G’s acquisition of Freshmax:

“Fundamentally, fresh produce wholesalers ultimately operate as intermediaries between growers and retailers. Regardless of the size of the customer or supplier, wholesalers must continually work hard to deliver to both sides of the market and add value to the supply chain. 

“Any attempt by wholesalers to try and increase their own margins or decrease service levels will merely exacerbate what is already a trend of growers and retailers bypassing wholesalers altogether. The opportunity presented by this acquisition is to allow the combined business to deliver a higher quality of service using the Parties’ combined capability, to mitigate that trend.”

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