Fair trade regulator CCI has sought comments from the public on movie theatre chain PVR’s proposed Rs 500-crore worth acquisition of DT Cinemas, after finding that prima-facie the deal was likely to adversely impact competition.
This is at least the third time in a little over a year that Competition Commission of India (CCI) has put a major deal for public scrutiny.
Last year, the watchdog had sought comments from public on two mega transactions - the USD 4 billion Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy combination and Holcim-Lafarge deal.
In both instances, the regulator had called for divestment of certain assets by the entities concerned to address anti-competition concerns.
“The Commission is of the prima-facie opinion that the combination is likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition...
“... and accordingly has directed PVR to publish details of the combination for bringing the combination to the knowledge or information of the public and persons affected or likely to be affected by such combination,” the regulator said in a release.
PVR had approached the regulator in July seeking approval for the deal with DT Cinemas - the film exhibition business of DLF Utilities Ltd comprising 39 screens (29 existing and 10 upcoming) in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Chandigarh.
Public comments on the deal can be submitted to the regulator till January 5, 2016.
In June, PVR announced the deal to acquire realty major DLF’s DT Cinemas for Rs 500 crore - a transaction that marked a significant consolidation in the country’s cinema exhibition business.
As part of the transaction, PVR would buy 39 screens of DT Cinemas having a total capacity of around 9,000 seats. Post the deal, PVR would have presence in 44 cities with 115 multiplexes and 506 screens, the company had said in June.
CCI’s decision to put the deal under public scrutiny also comes at a time when it is boosting efforts to curb unfair business practices and ensure a level playing field for entities across sectors.