Tiri Group has benefited from Section 47 of the Commerce Act, which prohibits acquisitions that are likely to substantially lessen competition.
The Commerce Commission has approved TSPV1, a subsidiary of Tiri Group as purchaser for Winc NZ. This addresses the Commission’s competition concerns regarding Platinum’s acquisition of rival stationery and office products firm OfficeMax.
Winc and OfficeMax are the two largest suppliers of stationery and office products to large corporate and government customers in New Zealand.
Platinum acquired Winc in March 2017, and in April 2017 sought to acquire OfficeMax. Platinum had not applied for clearance to acquire OfficeMax and the Commission was concerned that the acquisition would be likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of stationery and office products to large corporate and government customers.
In November 2017 the Commission joined Complete Office Supplies’ High Court injunction proceedings to prevent the acquisition.
In April 2018, Platinum provided an undertaking to the Commission and the Court committing to divest Winc to a purchaser approved by the Commission once Platinum acquired OfficeMax.
Section 47 of the Commerce Act prohibits acquisitions likely to substantially lessen competition. The Commission administers a voluntary regime that allows businesses to apply for clearance if they consider their planned acquisition could raise competition issues. If firms do not apply for clearance, the Commission can initiate an investigation into a proposed or completed merger under section 47. Breaches of section 47 can result in a penalty of up to $500,000 for an individual or $5m for a firm.
Tom Sturgess, the majority owner of Tiri Group, is also the executive chairman and joint owner of BSP Holdings, the ultimate parent company of Blue Star & Webstar.