The Competition Commission has ended Computicket’s monopoly of the ticketing market, creating an opportunity for new players.
The Constitutional Court Decision on Shoprite Checker’s application for leave to appeal against the Competition Appeal Court last week, effectively paves the way for the entry of small and medium enterprises in the ticketing market. This is an area where Computicket, ShopRite’s subsidiary, monopolised business via binding exclusive agreements with its clients (inventory providers), mainly theatre owners, promoters and other event organisers.
The Constitutional Court dismissed Shoprite Checkers’ appeal with costs. Shoprite Checkers had contended that the Competition Commission could not prosecute both the parent company and its wholly subsidiary for abuse of dominance in terms of section 8 of the Competition Act.
Under Section 8 of the Competition Act, a dominant firm in the market is prohibited from abusing its dominance by, among other activities, engaging in conduct that has the effect of excluding its competitors from the market. This is what the Competition Commission Tribunal had declared that Competition Commission had flouted in October 2020. The Commission observed that the exclusive agreements were deliberately introduced to exclude potential competitors from entering the ticketing market.
In last year’s ruling, the Commission had decided to prosecute both Shoprite and Computicket. Now, the recent legal outcome means the Commission will go ahead with the move.
Computicket distributes tickets for entertainment events, bus, flights, hotel accommodation and holiday packages.