The Finnish Competition Authority (FCA) is to force the new owners of the C More group to drop coverage of top flight ice hockey. The FCA has added a string of new conditions in its approval of the sale of C More, which operates Canal+ in the Nordic region, to Bonnier’s TV4 Group.
Bonnier has already received approval for the SEK3 billion (€290 million) deal from the competition authorities in Norway, Denmark and its domestic market of Sweden. However, the FCA brought up new concerns due in part to Bonnier’s ownership of leading commercial broadcaster MTV Oy, which operates a number of pay and basic channels in Finland.
The FCA says the combined group holds the majority of pay-TV broadcasting rights and the position of any future players must be safeguarded. It means that Canal+ must give up the rights to the Finnish SM-Liigan ice hockey league from the start. By allowing another operator to secure the rights, the FCA believes it will be able to maintain competition in the market. A contender for the rights would be the DTT pay-TV platform PlusTV.
The self-imposed rules on the distribution of some of MTV’s channels must also be lifted, giving rival operators the opportunity to offer new packages to their subscribers.
TV4 is now in final talks with ProSiebenSat.1 on the sale and has said it is now studying the FCA conclusions.