Online Recruitment Deal Given Conditional Approval
CCS found that the proposed acquisition of JobStreet Singapore (“JobStreet”) by SEEK Asia Investments Pte Ltd (“SEEK”) (together known as the “Parties”) will substantially lessen competition in the market for online recruitment advertising services in Singapore. The proposed acquisition brings together the top two online recruitment advertising service providers in Singapore, being SEEK’s platform, JobsDB.com.sg and JobStreet’s platform, JobsStreet.com.sg.
While the online recruitment advertising services market in Singapore is characterised by some degree of innovation and competition, CCS is unable to conclude that these features alone are likely to sufficiently constrain the merged entity in the near term from exercising market power by raising prices.
CCS’s decision to provisionally block the proposed acquisition follows extensive consultation with third-party industry participants and representatives of the Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency in relation to the recent launch of JobsBank.gov.sg. Jobs Bank was a new entry into the market. Having regarded to market feedback, the potential impact of Jobs Bank as a competitive constraint on the merged entity, particularly given Jobs Bank’s specific government mandate, was at that stage, an open question.
Upon review of the Parties’ submissions and feedback from various industry stakeholders, CCS considered that the Parties are each other’s closest competitors. CCS was, therefore, of the view that the merger may reduce competition giving rise to price increases and/or exclusive contracts which could harm customers.
CCS granted the conditional approval for the proposed acquisition on the basis of the behavioural and divestiture commitments offered by the Parties as follows:
- SEEK committed to not entering into exclusive agreements with employer and recruitment customers;
- SEEK committed to maintaining current pricing of services, subject only to Consumer Price Index variations;
- The term of the commitments will be for a period of three years from the date of the completion of the Proposed Acquisition; and
- SEEK is committed to divesting the complete assets of jobs.com.sg including the domain name, http://www.jobs.com.sg