FTC finds nothing wrong with Supreme Ventures’ acquisition of majority shares in Post-To-Post Betting

Ann-Dawn Young Sang, the president and CEO of Supreme Ventures

Jamaica’s competition regulator, the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), has found nothing wrong with the acquisition by regional gaming company, Supreme Venture of Post to Post Betting Limited.

In its findings, the FTC concluded that the acquisition will have a minimal effect on competition in the racehorse betting and gaming business, thus giving the OK to the acquisition, which took place last year. The FTC decided to initiate an investigation into the implication of the acquisition by Supreme Ventures of majority shares in Post to Post Betting, a Jamaican company that offers gaming products, including sports betting and horse racing in the Jamaican market under the Post to Post and ANYBET brands.

According to the FTC, “the acquisition agreements are unlikely to have the effect of a substantial lessening of competition in the bookmaking services market. Essentially, the agreements are not in breach of section 17 of the Fair Competition Act.”

Media reports

Following media reports of the acquisition, the FTC opened the investigation under section 17 of the FCA that applies to agreements, which have as their purpose, effect or likely effect the substantial lessening of competition in a market. The effect of the agreements on competition was assessed in three markets: (i) betting services on sports events and virtual games; (ii) betting services on simulcast horseracing; and (iii) betting on services on local horseracing.

While the FTC had no competition concerns regarding the first two markets, for the third market, the FTC had concerns about the potential for the discriminatory imposition of rights fee by Supreme Ventures in favour of Post-To Post and against competing players in the market. The FTC is, however, satisfied that the sector regulator, the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, has the power to avert any such discriminatory conduct.

Additional shares

In light of the ruling, Supreme Ventures has indicated that it intends to acquire additional shares in Post to Post Betting. However, there will be no haste in acquiring the additional shares, as this will not be done immediately but some time during the course of this year.

In announcing the acquisition in June last year, Supreme Ventures said Post to Post will continue to operate as a standalone commercial business promoting their brands and products. Post to Post currently operates 35 shops islandwide. The original Post to Post shareholders will retain 49 per cent ownership of the company giving Supreme Ventures the majority shareholding in Post to Post of 51 per cent.

Supreme Ventures reported that the acquisition is aligned with its growth strategy, which has seen the company not only expanding in the Jamaican horseracing and mobile gaming market but into the region with iBET Supreme in Guyana. Supreme Ventures President and CEO Ann-Dawn Young Sang pointed out that the new subsidiary will enable the regional gaming company to better serve various segments of the gaming market and allow the introduction of innovative products to a wider cross-section of customers.