South Africa: Towards a More Competitive Digital Economy

opinion

The Competition Commissioner during the commission's annual conference (in November 2020), noted that the commission will take a 'decisive and proactive stance to ensure the balance of economic forces favour a shift to facilitating entry and a more competitive digital economy'.

Proposed changes for the industry may be far-reaching and may include a possible requirement for dominant tech companies to inform the commission of all acquisitions, even those falling below the prescribed thresholds for mandatory merger notification to the authority. All players in the tech/digital markets space will need to be aware of the heightened focus of the competition authorities on this sector. Not only will this bring a change in transaction costs and deal timelines - but also many more mergers being prohibited or approved with conditions.

The commission's recently published paper on Competition in the Digital Economy notes that there may have been underenforcement of merger control laws in digital markets to date. One of the ways in which the commission plans to promote competition, inclusive growth, increased and meaningful employment and shared prosperity in the sector is through more stringent merger regulation of the industry.

Statistics published by the SA Commission indicate that out of the 87...

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