Diederik Schrijvershof and Jade Versteeg successfully represented a third party during the (second phase) merger control procedure with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (“ACM”) regarding the acquisition of Iddink Group by Sanoma Learning. On 29 August 2019 ACM reported that the acquisition was cleared under certain conditions. Through Malmberg, Sanoma Learning is the publisher of (digital) learning materials and tests. Iddink is a distributor of (digital) learning materials. In addition, Iddink owns Magister, an electronic learning environment and student administration system that is widely used in secondary education. ACM’s merger clearance is subject to certain conditions. According to ACM, the competitors of Malmberg must:
- be granted access to Magister under equal conditions after the acquisition;
- be granted access to the data of Magister in an equal manner as Malmberg does. They need these data to improve their products and services; and,
- Sanoma Learning must ensure that commercially sensitive information of competing publishers cannot reach Malmbert through Inddink. In this way, other publishes will preserve the incentive to keep innovating.
ACM notes that these remedies must ensure that innovation will be stimulated and ensure that a level playing field for publishers continues to exist post-merger. This is the first time that ACM has cleared an acquisition in digital markets subject to such a package of remedies.