HILARY JOFFE: Intrusive competition law may prompt investors to go elsewhere
Is SA's ever more intrusive competition regulation driving away foreign direct investment at a time when President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying hard to attract it? The leadership of Naspers seems to think so. Naspers chair Koos Bekker told shareholders last month that SA's increasing competition scrutiny hampered investment, while CEO Bob van Dijk spoke of regulatory limitations when Naspers wanted to invest its dollars back in SA. They were right, in a sense, but for the wrong reasons.
The deal that prompted the comments - Naspers's proposed acquisition of WeBuyCars - is by no means a done deal. The Competition Commission recommended that the deal be prohibited, for reasons that are unusual at best - in effect because it would remove a potential competitor in the used-car market that Naspers had previously contemplated creating. The deal still has to go to the Competition Tribunal to be heard and decided. It promises to be a big legal bunfight.