Ryan Hawthorne and Genna Robb were briefed by Vani Chetty Competition Law to provide economic expert services in the merger involving Nedbank, RMHP and DiverCity. The Competition Commission had recommended the approval of the merger only subject to onerous conditions. The team prepared an expert report dealing with the theory of harm put forward by the Competition Commission which related to potential anti-competitive effects arising from information exchange and cross-directorships. The merger was approved by the Competition Tribunal without conditions.
Acacia Economics has been appointed to assist ICASA in its market inquiry into mobile broadband in South Africa.
Acacia Economics assisted in the preparation of a merger filing in the food sector. The merger was approved without conditions.
Acacia Economics provided advice to Internet Solutions in respect of its submission to the Competition Commission’s data market inquiry.
Ryan Hawthorne, Genna Robb and Sha'ista Goga prepared expert evidence in relation to private arbitration proceedings involving Air Namibia. Ryan Hawthorne provided expert testimony during the course of the proceedings.
Simon Roberts and Ryan Hawthorne provided expert evidence in relation to High Court proceedings concerning the Strategic Fuel Fund, including in respect of appropriate interest rates applicable in damages claims.
Ryan Hawthorne and Genna Robb provided a three-day training course on economic regulation in the telecommunications sector to regulators and other stakeholders from the East African region.
We assisted a fixed line provider in engaging with ICASA around its recent call termination market review.
Simon Roberts, Ryan Hawthorne and Sha’ista Goga are carrying out an assessment of competition in two wholesale telecoms markets for the Uganda Communications Commission. This will include analysing the regulatory impact of existing regulations and proposing regulatory interventions to address any competition issues identified.
Economic analysis for an insurance merger for the Competition Commission of South Africa, 2016 - 2017
The Competition Commission briefed Acacia Economics to provide expert economic reports and testimony in relation to the Hollard, Regent and related mergers. Initially, the transaction was structured such that Hollard would acquire the underwriting business of Regent (owned by Imperial) which encompassed a number of products, including motor value-added products (VAPs) such as credit life and shortfall cover, warranties and scratch and dent cover. In addition, Motovantage, a jointly owned subsidiary of Hollard and FirstRand/Wesbank, would acquire the VAPs marketing, administration and retail businesses of Imperial. The Competition Commission prohibited the transaction based on its concerns around the parties' overlapping activities in the underwriting of VAPs as well as in downstream VAPS markets. The Commission also had concerns around the distribution arrangements through Imperial dealerships and the ability of Wesbank to influence Finance and Insurance Personnel ("F&Is") to direct customers to finance vehicles and VAPs through Wesbank at Imperial dealerships. Acacia Economics prepared an expert economic report for the Competition Commission which found that the merger could lead to a significant lessening of competition in the market for financial and mechanical VAPs. The merging parties put forward a remedy to the concerns raised which excluded MotoVantage and Wesbank from the transaction and instead meant that Imperial retained its VAPs businesses. The commitments made were sufficient to satisfy the Commission and Tribunal that the transaction would not substantially lessen competition and the revised transaction was subsequently approved by the Tribunal with conditions.
Economic advice and analysis of proposed policy interventions for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, 2017
Bowmans Attorneys briefed Acacia Economics to provide a series of expert economic reports on competition and economic regulation aspects of proposed government policy interventions for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). In addition to an overview of the likely impact of the proposed interventions on the sector, Simon Roberts, Ryan Hawthorne, Sha'ista Goga, Genna Robb, Pamela Mondliwa and Anthea Paelo provided detailed economic reports on a range of topics in relation to ICT policy.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) briefed Acacia Economics to prepare a competition report in relation to the merger between Liquid Telecom and Neotel.
Economic analysis of a decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in relation to infrastructure regulation, 2017
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH, attorneys for NERSA) appointed Acacia Economics to provide an independent expert economic analysis of one of NERSA’s decision in relation to the economic regulation of a large infrastructure provider.
Economic research and analysis for the Competition Commission of South Africa's Healthcare Market Inquiry, 2014 - 2017
Genna Robb, Sha'ista Goga and Ryan Hawthorne were part of a panel of consultants working on the South African Competition Commission’s private healthcare market inquiry. This included analysing the impact of the regulatory framework and previous competition interventions on the dynamics of competition in the sector.
Analysis of competition in traditional and digital banking services for the Kenya Banking Inquiry Phase II, 2015 - 2017
Sha’ista Goga and Ryan Hawthorne carried out phase II of a market inquiry into the banking sector for the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK). This was focused on identifying and understanding factors that impact on competition dynamics in both traditional and digital banking services from a demand side or customer perspective. A key focus was understanding the ability of customers to impose competitive discipline on banks. This involved assessing facets such as price transparency and switching. The study assessed the extent to which banks provided adequate disclosure, the extent to which customers were able to meaningfully engage with information provided, and the ease, ability and incentive for consumers to switch. Furthermore, the study looked at whether a lack of consumer engagement and barriers to switching undermined incentives for banks to compete in parameters such as price, quality of service and innovation. The study used a combination of qualitative, quantitative and experimental methods. Behavioural economics experiments were engaged in to understand barriers to switching and to determine whether prompts could be use to enhance competitive behaviour.
Expert economic advice to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa in relation to a review of its spectrum auction decision, 2016
PPM Attorneys (attorneys for ICASA) briefed Acacia Economics to provide expert economic reports to the High Court in relation to the review of ICASA’s spectrum auction decision brought by the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal services. Acacia Economics provided economic analysis in relation to the concerns raised by the DTPS, including a review of international best-practice in spectrum auction design and an assessment of the possible competition implications of ICASA's proposed approach.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr briefed Acacia Economics to prepare independent competition and consumer protection reports in relation to a merger between two private entities in the telecommunications sector.
Economic analysis conducted for a market inquiry into USSD in Kenya for the Competition Authority of Kenya, 2015 - 2016
Acacia Economics, together with Macmillan Keck Attorneys & Solicitors, that conducted a market inquiry into unstructured supplementary services data (USSD) in Kenya for the Competition Authority of Kenya.
Economic experts for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa in relation to the Vodacom/Neotel merger, 2015
Acacia Economics provided expert advice to ICASA in relation to the proposed merger between Vodacom and Neotel. The Competition Commisison had raised concerns that the merger would lead to a concentration of spectrum in the hands of Vodacom, which could further entrench its dominant position. Competing operators MTN, Cell C and Telkom intervened in the matter, as well as ICASA and the Ministers for Telecommunications and Postal Services and Economic Development. All were concerned that Vodacom's market power and first-mover advantage would be strengthened by the acquisition of Neotel's spectrum, a vital input for the development of a high speed LTE network. Other operators were constrained in the ability to access more spectrum, as additional spectrum was still to be assigned to mobile operators by ICASA and it was unclear when this would take place. Acacia Economics prepared an expert report which analysed the likely competition implications of the transaction. The merger was abandoned by the parties before a Tribunal hearing on the matter was held.