Justice Department Issues Statement on the Abandonment of the National Cinemedia/Screenvision Merger
Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division issued the following statement today after National CineMedia Inc. (NCM) abandoned its proposed acquisition of Screenvision LLC, which the department had filed suit to block in November:
“This result is a victory for advertisers, movie theaters and consumers. Had this merger-to-monopoly gone forward, it would have combined the only two significant cinema advertising networks in the United States, creating an unlawful monopoly in the markets for cinema advertising and preshow services. The Antitrust Division’s lawsuit, which sought to prevent the companies from merging and preserve their existing head-to-head competition, was filed late last year in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.
“Nothing harms competition more than the creation of a monopoly through merger. In recent years, NCM and Screenvision competed aggressively by offering lower prices to advertisers, a variety of attractive financial incentives to movie theaters and better products and services overall. This scheme to eliminate competition should never have been considered, much less publicly proposed. We sued to preserve the significant competition between these competitors, and with the parties’ abandonment, we achieved that result. Their decision to abandon the transaction less than a month before trial is a testament to the strength of the Antitrust Division’s case and the hard work of our talented litigation team.”