The Australian competition regulator is calling for submissions on rival bids for the Borders Group's assets in the region.

As previously reported, A & R Whitcoulls (ARW), the Auckland-based company behind some of Australasia's biggest book chains, has formally applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for clearance to acquire the U.S. company's Australian and NZ operations.

The ACCC has also revealed that another leading Australian book chain Dymocks has entered the race to buy Borders' assets in the region. The Dymocks chain operates 74 stores in Australia and, although it focuses primarily on books, it does carry some CDs and DVDs.

The Government body has now launched a review into competition implications for the two acquisition bids. Interested parties have until Oct. 26 to make submissions on the proposed acquisitions. The ACCC's focus is primarily on the impact the deals could have on the book market, although the regulator is also seeking comment on whether a Dymocks or ARW-owned Borders would affect "price, availability or range" of other products, "such as DVD and CDs".

The ACCC does not expect to report back until Dec. 5. The ACCC's NZ equivalent, the Commerce Commission, is also examining ARW's bid in regards to competition issues. At this stage, Dymocks has yet to reveal publicly whether it is interested in Borders' NZ operation -- the chain also operates six outlets on the other side of the Tasman Sea -- although the commission has postponed its decision on Whitcoulls' bid until Nov. 26.

Borders operates 20 stores in Australia and four in New Zealand, but is in the process of divesting its international operations.