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ACCC blames CMS error for leaking TPG-Vodafone decision

The content management system flaw has been rectified with a software patch
ACCC chairperson Rod Sims

ACCC chairperson Rod Sims

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has conducted a full investigation into the incident that occurred on 8 May whereby the decision on the merger between TPG and Vodafone was leaked prematurely.

The watchdog said the investigation identified a flaw in its content management system, which has been rectified with a software patch.

It further explained that the information became public when it was being put into the back end of the mergers register, and a third party user sought to access the existing web page at the same moment it was being updated.

And instead of the information being treated as a draft copy, which required internal approval, the content went live on the ACCC website for eight minutes.

“We have thoroughly reviewed all of the processes and information technology systems that led to this error, and we want to assure our stakeholders this incident will not be repeated,” ACCC COO Rayne de Gruchy said.

“The ACCC has successfully managed highly market-sensitive commercial information for decades and this is the first time, to our knowledge, that a merger decision has been released in this manner. We apologise unreservedly for this unfortunate and serious incident.”

During the eight minutes that the information was public, it was enough time for people to get wind of the ACCC’s decision against the $15 billion merger between TPG and Vodafone, sending shares from both companies tumbling before the close of trade on the ASX at 4pm that day.

Ultimately, ACCC chair Rod Sims said that if the proposed $15 billion merger does not proceed there is a real chance TPG will roll out a mobile network.

Furthermore, TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) plan to file legal action in the Federal Court following the ACCC's opposition to the deal.