Tribunal recognised Weelee as a participant in case against WeBuyCars, MIH merger

By Philippa Larkin Time of article published Oct 8, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – The Competition Tribunal recognised Weelee as a participant in the case against a merger deal involving online car retailer, WeBuyCars, and Naspers-controlled MIH Ecommerce.

MIH Ecommerce owns the AutoTrader platform and online marketplace, OLX.

Weelee is an online intermediary that facilitates the sale of used vehicles by private individuals to second-hand vehicle dealers and competes with WeBuyCars.

The Tribunal on Tuesday in a statement said that the move followed Weelee’s application last week to be recognised as an “intervenor” in the merger proceedings.

"It argued that it is a competitor to WeBuyCars and while it has been called as a witness for the Commission, this status does not afford it sufficient protections over its own interests. The merging parties opposed Weelee’s application." 

In terms of the Tribunal’s order, Weelee’s could now access the Commission’s record and any additional documents filed by the merging parties, with standard confidentiality arrangements applying.

It could also lead the evidence of Marc Friedman,Weelee’s chief executive, "limited to the evidence contained in his witness statement and to the extent that the evidence has not been led by the Commission; and cross-examine the merging parties’ witnesses, to the extent that this does not result in a duplication of the Commission’s cross examination".

The Tribunal said MIH eCommerce and WeBuyCars opposed the Commission’s prohibition recommendation.

The Tribunal is set to hear evidence and argument in the matter on Monday.

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