ACCC Approves Banks' Experian Investments
The ACCC announced this week that it is approving six banks each take a shareholding in credit reporting agency, Experian Australia Credit Services.
ANZ, CBA, Citigroup, GE Capital, NAB and Westpac are the institutions that will each take four per cent, while Experian Group, a London based global provider of credit reporting services, which will have a 76 per cent shareholding. The banks that will have minority interests in the proposed joint venture are currently the largest purchasers of credit reporting services and are important providers of a key input, credit information, to Australian credit reporting agencies.
"Following an extensive public review, the ACCC formed the view that the proposed joint venture would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any of the markets examined," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
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The review focused on whether the financial institutions would have the incentive to restrict the supply of credit information and customers to incumbent credit reporting agencies and in doing so negatively affect the competitive position of these agencies.
The ACCC also investigated whether the banks could leverage their position in the joint venture to discriminate against rival lenders. The ACCC consulted with incumbent credit reporting agencies, as well as industry experts and customers of the incumbent reporting agencies. The ACCC also examined the joint venture parties' internal documents.
In its assessment, the ACCC had regard to the planned introduction of comprehensive reporting through amendments to the Privacy Act. The ACCC considered that this development will have some benefits for small lenders, and that the proposed joint venture will not curtail these benefits.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.