GTCR Agrees to Divest Third Largest Media Contact Database Provider in the U.S. in Order to Proceed With Acquisition of PR Newswire
Divestiture Prevents a Duopoly in the Provision of Media Contact Databases to Businesses and Other Organizations
The Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed acquisition, and simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive harm alleged in the lawsuit.
Businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations rely on media contact databases to identify journalists and other influencers for public relations purposes. Cision is the largest media contact database provider in the United States through its flagship public relations workflow software suite. PR Newswire is the third-largest media contact database provider in the United States through its Agility workflow software suite and competes directly with Cision to provide media contact databases to customers. According to the department’s complaint, GTCR’s acquisition of Agility would eliminate one of the two meaningful competitors to Cision in the provision of media contact databases, creating a duopoly in the market and further enhancing Cision’s dominant market position. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, GTCR must divest Agility to Innodata Inc., or to another buyer approved by the United States.
“Media contact databases are important to the public-relations activities of many American businesses and organizations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata B. Hesse, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s settlement protects these customers and preserves competition in the market for media contact databases.”
GTCR’s acquisition of PR Newswire is also being reviewed by the United Kingdom’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). The department cooperated closely with the CMA throughout the course of its investigation.
GTCR is a private equity firm headquartered in Chicago. GTCR owns Cision, a leading public relations workflow software company that had approximately $227 million in U.S. revenues in 2015.
UBM is a global events marketing and communications services business headquartered in St. Helier, Jersey. UBM owns PR Newswire, a leading provider of commercial newswire services. PR Newswire’s 2015 U.S. revenues totaled approximately $209 million.
As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with the department’s competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register. Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to Scott Scheele, Chief, Telecommunications & Media Enforcement Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 7000, Washington, D.C. 20530. At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the proposed settlement upon finding that it is in the public interest.