The Communications Authority ("CA") today (31 March 2016) announced its decision not to commence an investigation under the Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619) ("CO") in respect of the acquisition by HKBN Ltd., the holding company of Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited ("HKBN"), a carrier licensee under the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106) ("TO"), of 100% of the issued share capital of Concord Ideas Ltd. and Simple Click Investments Limited from New World Telephone Holdings Limited, which led to an indirect acquisition of New World Telecommunications Limited ("NWT"), another carrier licensee under the TO (the "Acquisition").
As the Acquisition involved two carrier licensees (i.e. HKBN and NWT), it fell within the Merger Rule under the CO, which provides that an undertaking must not, directly or indirectly, carry out a merger that has, or is likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition ("SLC") in Hong Kong. The CA is conferred concurrent jurisdiction with the Competition Commission ("Commission") to enforce the CO in respect of the conduct of certain undertakings operating in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, including merger and acquisition activities involving carrier licensees. According to the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with the Commission under the CO, the CA is the lead authority with respect to the Acquisition.
Both HKBN and NWT are engaged in the provision of fixed voice and broadband telecommunications services in Hong Kong. Having carefully considered the details of the Acquisition, and the assessment conducted by the Office of the Communications Authority in accordance with the Guideline on the Merger Rule jointly issued by the CA and the Commission, the CA was of the view that the Acquisition was unlikely to have the effect of SLC in the relevant telecommunications service markets in Hong Kong, and, accordingly, decided not to commence an investigation into the Acquisition under the CO.
31 March 2016