Computicket loses appeal against $1.5m fine
South Africa’s Competition Appeal Court has dismissed with costs an appeal by Computicket, the country’s biggest ticket seller, against a 20 million rand (US$1.5m) fine for alleged abuse of its market dominance.
According to Fin24, appeal court judge Nolwazi Boqwana ruled today (23 October) that the penalty should stand, upholding the findings of a nine-year Competition Tribunal investigation into the company, owned by local supermarket chain Shoprite.
The tribunal found in January that Computicket had misused long-term exclusive contracts with promoters to “exclude new entrants from the outsourced ticket distribution market”, substantially lessening competition in the $83m South African live music market.
Boqwana’s judgment highlights that the Competition Tribunal found Computicket either enforced or threatened to enforce the exclusivity clause of its contracts strictly, and refused to enter into non-exclusive agreements with promoters.
“I find no basis to interfere with the tribunal’s discretion”
“In summary, I am persuaded that not only was the exclusionary act substantial in terms of foreclosing on market rivals, there is evidence pointing to actual harm on consumers,” the judgment reads.
— CompComSA (@CompComSA) October 23, 2019
The court also ruled that the R20m fine is considered fair under South African law, noting that the tribunal is able to penalise Computicket up to 10% of its annual turnover.
“Having considered the submissions made on appeal, in relation to penalty, I find no basis to interfere with the tribunal’s discretion,” the judgment concludes.
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, Computicket remains South Africa’s largest ticket agency, with a “powerful network of online and physical outlets”, having launched in 1971 as the world’s first computerised ticketing system.
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