Shoprite, which acquired Computicket from Naspers in 2005, should pay 10% of its turnover as a fine, the Competition Commission said on Thursday.
Shoprite, which acquired Computicket from Naspers in 2005, should pay 10% of its turnover as a fine, the Competition Commission said on Thursday.
Image: JEREMY GLYN

The Competition Commission’s 10-year-old case against Computicket is on again.

The case, which started in 2008 when five smaller players complained to the commission of Computicket’s practice of locking large sports and entertainment venues into exclusive agreements, appears to have been botched by the commission not taking into account that Naspers sold Computicket to Shoprite in 2005.

The commission said it amended its initial legal papers in October to include “Shoprite Checkers” as the second respondent, and will recommend that the Competition Tribunal “impose an administrative penalty of 10% of Computicket and Shoprite Checkers annual turnover”.

Thursday’s media release did not make it clear if it intends fining Shoprite 10% of its entire turnover or only the portion from ticket sales. 

The commission suffered a legal defeat against Shoprite in 2016 after refusing to provide information it had on Computicket when it was owned by Naspers.

“The matter was subject to lengthy litigation around certain legal technicalities about whether Computicket was entitled to certain documents in the commission’s possession,” Thursday’s statement said.

“This issue was settled in 2016 in favour of Computicket, paving [the way] for the merits of the matter to be heard in October 2017.”

The saga was further complicated by Groupon joining the original five complainants — Strictly Tickets, Artslink, Going Places, TicketSpace and Ezimidlalo Technologies — and then withdrawing its complaint.

Response

The Shoprite Group said, having studied the commission's notice, it disagreed with the basis for the referral. The group said that Shoprite Checkers and Computicket will file opposing affidavits within 20 business days.

Update: December 20 2018 5.20pm
This article has been updated with comment from the Shoprite Group. 

laingr@businesslive.co.za