Australian regulator clears Fox Sports - Foxtel merger

Thursday 7 December 2017 | 07:36 CET | News
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it has decided to not oppose the proposed merger of Fox Sports and Foxtel after finding the transaction would not substantially lessen competition. News Corporation currently owns 100 percent of Fox Sports and owns Foxtel jointly with Telstra. Under the merger, Foxtel and Fox Sports will be brought together under common ownership, with News Corporation holding 65 percent of the merged entity. Telstra will hold the remaining 35 percent stake. The merged entity will also enter a number of agreements with Telstra.

“The ACCC won’t oppose this merger after finding that the commercial incentives of Foxtel, Fox Sports, News, and Telstra will not be substantially altered. Therefore, the change in ownership structure is unlikely to substantially lessen competition”, said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. “Foxtel and Fox Sports have a close and long-standing relationship, operating within the ownership of News and Telstra. Given News’ current interests in both Foxtel and Fox Sports, it would be unlikely that Fox Sports would be made available to competitors of Foxtel in the absence of the merger”, Sims added.

The ACCC considered how the merger would affect a number of different markets and took into account feedback from a range of market participants in reaching this decision. The ACCC also reports it has considered the effect of the merger and related agreements on the supply of triple play bundles of voice, broadband, and audio visual content by broadband and mobile providers. As part of the merger transaction, Telstra is appointed the exclusive telecommunications agent for Foxtel’s digital products. 

ACCC’s review of the merger started on 12 October.

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