“The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns,” the Commission said.
To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Liberty Global offered commitments similar to those offered in 2014, in particular to terminate clauses in channel carriage agreements that limit broadcasters’ ability to offer their channels and content over the internet, and not to include such clauses in future channel carriage agreements for eight years from today’s decision; to maintain adequate interconnection capacity through at least three uncongested routes into its Internet network in the Netherlands, helping to ensure sufficient capacity for competing OTT services, also for eight years from today’s decision; not to re-acquire the Film1 channel, to ensure that this divestment is a structural change to the market.
Originally, Liberty Global offered to sell its premium pay-TV film channel Film1 and scrapped clauses which restrict broadcasters’ ability to sell their channels and content over the internet. Sony Pictures Television bought the premium movie channel business.
Last October, the European Court of Justice overturned approval given in 2014 to combine two cable companies in the Netherlands, UPC and Ziggo, following a complaint by Dutch incumbent KPN.
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.
Liberty Global has since joined forces with Vodafone in the Netherlands to create the VodafoneZiggo joint venture.
The European Commission will rule on June 25 on the proposed acquisition of UPC Austria by T-Mobile Austria.