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Merger of eBay/Adevinta cleared in phase I – Commitments dispel competition concerns

On 20 May 2021, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) was again notified by eBay Inc. and Adevinta ASA of two mergers (Z-5420 and Z-5421).


The plan is for Adevinta ASA to acquire all of the shares in the online classifieds business of eBay Inc. and for eBay Inc. to acquire a non-controlling minority shareholding of more than 25% in Adevinta ASA in return.

Adevinta ASA’s holdings in other companies include a stake in willhaben.at (willhaben internet service GmbH & Co KG) and it held 100% of the shares in Finderly GmbH (operating shpock.at) until 2 June 2021. eBay Inc. is the parent company of the eBay.at marketplace. The merger notifications relate to online classifieds services, online marketplaces and online advertising.


AFCA’s competition concerns

AFCA’s investigation into the acquisition of the minority shareholding found that it would be disadvantageous for Austrian users of online platforms and their private sales (e.g. willhaben.at and ebay.at) as it would minimise mutual competitive pressure.


The examination of the merger has shown that eBay and willhaben are in close competition for Austrian users, particularly in relation to online consumer-to-consumer sales (C2C transactions).


Market surveys conducted

The AFCA conducted extensive market surveys in order to be able to better assess the market conditions.


Most rival online classifieds services and online marketplaces described the competition between willhaben and eBay as intense or very intense. The market data submitted confirmed these companies’ strong market position, even before the merger.


The AFCA also queried the Austrian users of:

  • ebay.at,
  • willhaben.at and
  • shpock.at.

Around 1,350 users were asked about their use of these online platforms (cf. also our press release of 21 May 2021).

The results confirm that willhaben and eBay in particular are in close competition with each other.

70% of the eBay users surveyed said they would switch to willhaben to sell the same or similar products if the eBay marketplace was no longer available:

willhaben users also cited Shpock and eBay as the most likely alternatives for selling the same or similar products or services:

Following the merger, eBay would profit from the income generated by Adevinta’s business activities in Austria and might be in a position to influence Adevinta’s activities in Austria in its favour.

Owing to the strong market position and intense competition between eBay and willhaben, they might be incentivised and able to increase the prices for users for their own profit, and quality and innovation competition between eBay and willhaben might be restricted.

In order to avoid disadvantages for users of online platforms and their C2C transactions, the parties were required to make certain commitments before the merger could be cleared.

Commitments dispel competition concerns

To dispel competition concerns, the parties committed themselves to take measures aimed at:

  • Reducing eBay’s economic stake in willhaben after the transaction to eliminate any incentive for anti-competitive behaviour
  • Restricting eBay’s influence on willhaben, thereby eliminating its ability to engage in anti-competitive behaviour.

The commitments can be downloaded here (in German):

The AFCA also prepared a comprehensive case report, which can be downloaded here (also in German):