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German bookstore merger cleared unconditionally 09.05.19

On 9 May 2019 the German competition authority (the Bundeskartellamt) unconditionally cleared the merger between Thalia and Mayersche following a phase one investigation. Following the merger, the Parties will be Germany’s biggest bookstore chain. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt noted that the authority had examined the merger “very closely”, focusing in particular on regional markets across North Rhine-Westphalia where the parties have a relatively high combined share of book retail sales. Despite this, the authority concluded that due to the growth of sales online and competition from a large number of traditional medium and smaller-sized retailers, the merger is not expected to significantly impede effective competition. The eBook and eBook reader markets were also examined and found unproblematic, in particular due to competitive pressure from market leader Amazon. RBB Economics advised both parties during the investigation.