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The Competition Commission last week opened a Pandora’s box on what constitutes the public interest — as contained in the Competition Amendment Act of 2018 — when it blocked the proposed takeover of Burger King by a US private-equity fund on the grounds that the ownership structure didn't meet BBE requirements. While the Commission found that the proposed transaction was unlikely to affect competition in the country, “ ... the merger would lead to a significant reduction in the shareholding of historically disadvantaged persons in the target firm.” If upheld at the Competition Tribunal, the ruling could have significant implications for foreign direct investment, existing black shareholders, employment, and SME suppliers. The case also raises questions about competition law being the appropriate tool to advance SA’s transformation agenda.

Michael Avery spoke to Competition Commissioner Thembinkosi Bonakele; Heather Irvine, a partner at Bowmans competition practice; David Holland, the founder of Fractal Value Advisors and author of Beyond Earnings; and Langa Madonko, SAVCA Director, investment principal, investor relations and capital raising at Summit Africa.

Michael Avery chats to experts about the Competition Amendment Act and Burger King’s lack of BEE in their new ownership structure

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