The issue revolved around the impact of the merger on the pay TV market, with the review following a challenge by KPN.
At the time, the Commission ordered Ziggo owners Liberty Global to dispose of its premium movie channels Film1, which was subsequently sold to Sony Pictures Television.
According to a statement made to the Financial Times by Liberty Global “We note the EU General Court’s decision, which has no impact on the day-to-day operations of Vodafone Ziggo. The Court’s ruling does not question the substance of the Commission’s decision to approve the UPC and Ziggo merger, but rather annuls it on procedural grounds. We will discuss practical steps with the European Commission over the coming weeks and we are confident of obtaining clearance in due course.”
KPN has welcomed the decision. “At the time we thought it was wrong that the original ruling on the merger did not take sport content into account,” a spokesman told Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad.
KPN has complained, because Ziggo was only ordered to sell its premium movie business, but not is premium sport channels business. Ziggo offers its Ziggo Sports channel exclusively to its customers at no extra cost to its basic tier customers.
The ruling by the ECJ does not affect the merger between Ziggo and Vodafone, which the European Commission cleared in August 2016.