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Media price fixing matter: Competition Commission and Provantage Proprietary Limited confirm settlement agreement

On the 14th of March 2018 the Competition Commission and Provantage Proprietary Limited appeared before the Competition Tribunal to have a settlement agreement confirmed as an order of the Competition Tribunal.  The settlement pertains to the Commission’s investigation into conduct that involves various firms in the media industry and specifically those firms that were members of the Media Credit Coordinator and/or used the credit vetting services of CoreXalance.  The Commission’s case is that these firms fixed the prices in the form of discounts granted to accredited and unaccredited advertising agencies based if payments were made within specified periods.  Provantage has voluntarily and actively engaged with the Commission in this investigation from the moment it became aware of being implicated in the conduct and has taken a commercial decision to settle the matter in the interest of finality.

In terms of the settlement agreement, Provantage has agreed to:

  • pay an administrative penalty of R1,094,222.56 to the Commission;
  • grant bonus advertising space or discounts to qualifying small agencies (as defined in the settlement agreement with the Commission) for a period of three years; and
  • contribute an amount of R393,920.12 to the Economic Development Fund to enable the development of qualifying beneficiaries.

During the course of the hearing before the Tribunal this morning, an error that could cause later interpretation issues in respect of the settlement agreement was identified.  This error has been rectified and Provantage expects to receive the Tribunal’s consent order confirming the settlement agreement in due course.

Provantage is committed to conducting its business in compliance with the highest legal and ethical standards and is committed to ensuring that it does not transgress the laws of South Africa, including competition laws.