Merger between Gumtree Cars and Carsguide approved

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted approval for Gumtree to acquire Cox Media, the parent company of online vehicle classifieds platforms Carsguide and Autotrader.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said merger was approved as it was unlikely to lead to a worsening of competition in the classifieds space.

Gumtree offers online automotive classified advertising on Gumtree Cars

=“We authorised this merger because we concluded it was not likely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition, including in the supply of online automotive classifieds in Australia. Therefore it was not necessary to consider the public benefit limb of the authorisation test,” Sims said.

Gumtree (through Gumtree Cars) and Cox Media (through Carsguide/Autotrader) both offer online automotive classified advertising to private and dealer sellers in Australia. Gumtree and Cox both sell third parties display advertising space on their websites and mobile applications. Gumtree is a subsidiary of eBay.

The ACCC notice approving the merger drew attention to the significant pressure felt by Gumtree and other classified platforms from Facebook Marketplace, which is a growing threat. Both Marketplace and Carsales already provide competition to Gumtree, meaning the now-approved merger is unlikely to change the landscape drastically for consumers, said Sims.

“We also found that Gumtree and Cox Media focus on different segments, with Gumtree focussing on private seller listings and Cox Media focussing on dealer listings,” he said.

The ACCC also investigated the impact of the acquisition on the supply of online display advertising on digital automotive content providers and decided it was unlikely to result in a reduction of competition.

“Many advertisers use third parties to place targeted advertisements to individual consumers based on browsing history data on a wide range of websites. Further, we found there are a range of other digital automotive content providers where direct advertisers could place automotive-related advertising, including Drive, Carsales, GoAuto and digital versions of automotive print publications,” Sims said.


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