Bazaarvoice Agrees to Divest Illegal Acquisition

Products rating firm Bazaarvoice Inc. agreed to divest its illegal $168 million acquisition of PowerReviews to resolve its antitrust violation finding in a San Francisco federal trial, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

Bazaarvoice is the leading market provider of ratings and reviews platforms to companies involved in online commerce.  PowerReviews was its primary competitor.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick III ruled in January that Bazaarvoice conspired to hold down the price of product reviews and ratings by taking over its main rival.  Orrick’s decision came in a 140-page decision at the end of a three-week trial in October.

The Justice Department and Bazaarvoice agreed on the divestment remedy and other provisions to compensate for the deterioration of PowerReviews competitive position as a result of the purchase.

“As a result of today’s agreement, Bazaarvoice will remedy the harm caused by its unlawful acquisition of PowerReviews,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ Antitrust Division.

Under terms of the agreement with the DOJ, Bazaarvoice must provide the buyer of PowerReviews assets syndication services for four years to allow the buyer to build its customer base and build a network.

Bazaarboice must also provide a trustee to oversee the process and monitor compliance.

At the conclusion of the San Francisco trial, Orrick wrote, “The evidence that Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews expected the transaction to have anticompetitive effects is overwhelming.”

At that time, Bazaarvoice Chairman Tom Meredith testified during the trial that he considered the antitrust allegations to be “BS.”

The trial included testimony from 40 witnesses, reading from 100 depositions and 980 exhibits.

Case: U.S. v. Bazaarvoice, Inc., No. 13-133WHO

 

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