Classifieds giant Schibsted has been frustrated by the Swedish Competition Authority in its plan to acquire online real estate classifieds site Hemnet and has decided to pull out the process.
Schibsted made its initial offer to acquire Hemnet in May 2015 and by December the two companies had reached an agreement they were both satisfied with.
However, the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) has been scrutinizing the agreement since the beginning of 2016 and in May, Schibsted announced the authority had taken a negative view to the transaction in its current form.
As a result Schibsted began dialogue with the SCA seeking to find an appropriate solution to address the concerns identified and based on these talks says it recently offered the authority a set of commercially acceptable remedies.
“It is our view that the SCA’s initial concerns have been alleviated as a result of these remedies and that Schibsted would be the best owner of Hemnet both from the perspective of Swedish consumers and from the realtors’ viewpoint,” Schibsted says in its statement.
Despite this, Schibsted has been informed the SCA will still not clear the transaction in its current form.
Schibsted says it still considers the Swedish real estate market attractive and will now consider alternative targets for its presence in the market.
Schibsted has leading online classifieds traffic positions in 20 countries,” the company asserts.
“To establish stronger positions in the verticals is considered a good way of creating additional value in many of these markets.
“An active approach to M&A will continue to be an essential part of this strategy,” the company says.