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South Africa’s Computicket Fined For Exploiting Market Dominance

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SOUTH AFRICA (CelebrityAccess) South Africa’s leading ticketing company, Computicket, has been fined 20 million rand (US$1.5 million) for allegedly abusing its dominance to squelch competition.

After nearly 10 years of investigation, the South African Competition Tribunal announced the fine in a 61-page decision, proclaiming Computicket misused three-year-plus contracts with promoters to “exclude new entrants from the outsourced ticket distribution market.

The complaint was filed in 2010 by Strictly Tickets, alleging anti-competitive behavior.

“The company’s exclusivity contracts increased dramatically (in terms of quantity and duration) following its takeover by Shoprite in 2005,” the commission said. “In addition, from at least December 2006 to September 2009, Computicket’s personnel aggressively enforced the exclusive agreements among its clients including theatres, music promoters and event organisers. This happened particularly when new entrants emerged in the market.”

It said Computicket  “enjoyed a near monopoly position at the time it introduced the three-year version of the exclusive contracts in 2005,″ after which “there was limited market entry during the period 2005 and 2010, a period which […] coincided with […] the introduction of the longer-term exclusivity contracts and Computicket’s aggressive enforcement of its rights under these contracts.”

South Africa’s Competition Act 1998 prohibits dominant companies from engaging in “exclusionary acts” unless they can show “technological, efficiency or other pro-competitive gains which outweigh the anti-competitive effect of its act.”

“Computicket (Pty) Ltd will appeal the Competition Tribunal’s finding that it utilised its dominance between 2005–2010 relating to exclusive agreements with inventory providers for live entertainment events,” company owner Shoprite said in a statement. “The ticketing provider has studied the tribunal’s decision and, [under the] Competition Act, it has 15 business days to file its notice of appeal against the tribunal’s decision, which it intends to do.”

h/t IQ magazine

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