The European Commission has opened an ‘in-depth’ investigation into Telia Company’s proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting, amid concerns the merged company might stifle competition in Finland and Sweden.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The in-depth investigation we are opening today aims to ensure that Telia’s proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting will not lead to higher prices for or less choice of TV channels for consumers in Finland and Sweden.”
The prime concern is that the enlarged Telia would be both a distributor and operator of TV channels. In particular in Sweden and Finland, where Bonnier Broadcasting owns free and pay channels under the TV4 AB, C More Entertainment AB, and MTV Oy brands.
The EC fears the new company could also deny access to its streaming application to customers using competing mobile and fixed internet providers.
The Commission now has 90 working days, until 19 September 2019, to take a decision. The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
There are currently four other so-called ‘in-depth’ or Phase II investigations being conducted by the Commission. These include the proposed acquisition by Vodafone of Liberty Global’s business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania