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ACM clears acquisition of Dutch educational institution LOI by rival institution NCOI

The acquisition of Dutch educational institution LOI by rival institution NCOI has been cleared. Both LOI and NCOI offer professional courses, as well as accredited vocational programs (predominantly part-time programs) at the upper secondary-education and higher-education levels (in the Dutch educational system: MBO and HBO levels). The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has found that, on the different educational markets (professional courses and accredited vocational programs accredited at the MBO and HBO levels), sufficient competition will remain after the acquisition. That means people will continue to have sufficient options when looking for an educational program that fits their needs, and the different educational institutions will continue to be stimulated to keep their educational programs competitive and cutting-edge.

ACM has conducted an extensive investigation into the different types of education that both institutions currently offer. As part of that investigation, ACM interviewed students, corporate clients, and competitors (such as other educational institutions at the MBO and HBO levels) in order to be able to make a balanced assessment of the different markets and their consumers.

ACM has concluded that, with regard to accredited part-time vocational programs at the MBO and HBO levels, sufficient competitive pressure is exerted by part-time programs of other, similar institutions. In addition, NCOI and LOI offer a vast variety of professional courses that are not offered by other accredited institutions at the HBO and MBO levels. In this particular market, other providers with wide selections of courses are also active, as well as niche competitors with more specialized selections. As such, sufficient competition will remain in the different educational markets.

ACM’s concentration control

With any merger or acquisition, an investigation is needed into whether sufficient competition will remain on that market. Competition ensures that products are of high quality, and that they are offered on the market at competitive prices. That is why ACM decides in advance whether or not companies are allowed to join forces. ACM assesses whether the markets involved will continue to work well for people and businesses after that transaction.

More in this case

17-02-2020 NCOI and LOI file application for an acquisition license (concentration notification) (in Dutch)