The Commerce Commission this evening received two separate applications for clearance to buy two different Ansett companies.

Commission Chairman Dr Alan Bollard said that News Corp Ltd has applied for clearance to buy up to 100 percent of the shares of Ansett New Zealand Ltd.

Air New Zealand Ltd has applied for clearance to buy up to 50 percent of the shares of Ansett Holdings Ltd. Currently, Ansett Holdings owns Ansett New Zealand.

The Commission last month declined to authorise a different proposal through which Air New Zealand would also have acquired 50 percent of Ansett Holdings. It was concerned that by buying into Ansett Holdings, Air New Zealand would own 50 percent of its only significant domestic competitor, Ansett New Zealand.

The new proposal aims to answer the Commission's concerns. News Corp would buy Ansett New Zealand from Ansett Holdings and operate it independently, so that if Air New Zealand bought into Ansett Holdings, it would no longer also be acquiring a shareholding in Ansett New Zealand.

Dr Bollard said the Commerce Act prohibits business acquisitions which result in dominance being acquired or strengthened in any market. It also provides that the influence of "associated companies" are combined when considering effects on competition.

"We grant a clearance if we are satisfied that dominance is not acquired or strengthened," Dr Bollard said.

Dr Bollard said that in considering the new proposal, the Commission would look very carefully at whether Air New Zealand and Ansett New Zealand would be associated as a result of the final structure of Ansett Holdings or through commercial arrangements between Ansett Holdings and Ansett New Zealand.

The Act gives the Commission 10 working days to make a decision, but does allow for extensions of time if needed.

The Commission will advise of likely timing tomorrow.

Media contact: Communications Officer Vincent Cholewa

Phone work (04) 498 0920 , home (04) 479 1432