South African ticketing site Computicket has lost its appeal against a R20m (£1.1m/€1.2m/$1.4m) fine after abusing its market dominance by imposing exclusive agreements on its clients.
The country’s Competition Tribunal imposed the penalty in January for abuse of market dominance between 2005 and 2011, after which, the Shoprite-owned company took its case to the Competition Appeal Court.
Computicket is a ticketing agent for inventory providers, such as theatre owners, theatre producers, sporting events and entertainment events.
Judge Nolwazi Boqwana, who delivered the judgment on Wednesday, said: “Computicket significantly impeded the establishment of a viable competitive rivalry… through its impugned conduct.”
Judge Boqwana also highlighted that the tribunal found the ticketing firm either strictly enforced or threatened to enforce the exclusivity clause of its contracts. If an inventory provider used the services of a competing ticketing agent, it could have faced legal action for breaching the exclusivity clause with Computicket. The firm also refused to enter into non-exclusive agreements.
The tribunal said: “Computicket has used the exclusive contracts to weaken rivalry by raising the barriers to entry of competitors and thus increase its market power.”
Last month, a different investigation in Namibia found that Computicket had been abusing its market dominance by imposing exclusive agreements on its clients between 2011 and 2016.
The Namibian Competition Commission, the country’s competition regulator, found in a preliminary investigation that the ticketing firm engaged in anticompetitive behaviour over the five years, namely forcing event organisers and venue operators into exclusive agreements. It also accused Computicket of price discrimination and bundling.