OFT clears acquisition of Nelson Thorne by Oxford University Press

The OFT unconditionally cleared the acquisition of Nelson Thorne by Oxford University Press. The transaction was notified to the OFT on the basis that both parties are publishers of educational materials for primary and secondary schools, and the deal created overlaps in a number of overlapping segments. CRA’s economic analysis supported the argument that the parties’ published materials were not targeted to the same learning segments, and as such there was little switching between them on the part of schools. Furthermore, the nature of competition in the supply of educational materials must be seen in the light of curriculum changes, when schools re-evaluate their course and material selections, and publishers change their offerings. Competition is intensified at these pivotal times as there are reduced switching costs for schools moving between publishers, and therefore reduced barriers to entry or expansion. The OFT’s clearance decision cities both the lack of switching between the parties, and the “reset” nature of the market due to curriculum changes, as reasons why the transaction did not create concerns. A CRA team advised OUP on the transaction.

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