Thomson Reuters Australia's purchase of Ernst & Young's tax compliance software business, Ernst & Young Information Systems, has been opposed by the competition regulator.
"The ACCC concluded the acquisition is likely to substantially
lessen competition in the markets for the supply of income tax and
fringe benefits tax compliance software," ACCC chairman, Graeme
Samuel, said yesterday in a statement.
The Ernst & Young business licensed out software, such as
Tax Integrator and FBT Organiser, to companies who used it for
their tax compliance.
In inquiries on the purchase, the ACCC discovered that Thomson
Reuters and Ernst & Young are currently providing tax compliance
software to the "vast majority" of companies requiring such software,
the ACCC said.
The ACCC didn't think it was likely that there would be new
entrants or expansion into the market, so there would be no checks
to constrain Thomson Reuters from increasing its prices after the
acquisition. The ACCC also didn't think that companies developing
alternate systems in-house would be deterrent enough to stop the
company from raising its prices.
If the parties decided to go ahead with the acquisition, the
ACCC could bring legal action in the Federal Court for
breach of the Trade Practices Act, which prohibits mergers and
acquisitions that would likely lessen competition in the