Scrutiny over potential Aus retail merger
Australia's consumer watchdog says it would investigate the impact of a potential tie-up of David Jones and Myer on competition if the department store chains decided to pursue a merger.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Monday distanced itself from suggestions it would be unlikely to object to a possible merger between the two retailers, saying it had not formed a view on the issue.
"The ACCC wishes to make clear that it has formed no such view and it has provided no such indication, either formally or informally, to Myer or any other person," The ACCC said in a statement.
But it said it would launch a review of possible competition issues in the event the companies decided to merge.
"Should Myer or David Jones decide to pursue a merger the ACCC will then conduct a very thorough review, in accordance with its published guidelines, that would explore a range of potential competition issues."
David Jones revealed late last month it had received a merger proposal from Myer in October.
The A$3 billion ($3.2 billion) proposal would have effectively seen David Jones investors trade their shares for a stake in Myer, but with no premium offered.
Myer argued a merger would have created a company better positioned to compete with a growing number of international retailers.
David Jones rejected the proposal, saying it did not represent fair value to shareholders.
However, speculation about a possible has continued, with some David Jones investors and fund managers suggesting a tie up between the two companies made sense.