European Commission gives green light to Liberty Global Ziggo acquisition | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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A year after the European Union’s General Court annulled the deal, the European Commission has now approved the acquisition of Dutch cable TV operator Ziggo by Liberty Global, subject to conditions.

liberty 3 jan 2018The deal was first notified to the Commission in March 2014 and approved in October 2014, subject to conditions. This approval was then annulled by the General Court in October 2017 for procedural reasons and the EC’s re-approval under the EU Merger Regulation.

In 2014 the Commission had concerns that the merger, as initially notified, would have hindered competition by removing two close competitors and important competitive forces in the Dutch market for the wholesale of premium pay-TV film channels. This was despite the fact that the companies operated in different parts of the Netherlands and did not compete for the same customers. Yet in order to maintain effective competition for the wholesale of premium pay-TV film channels in the Netherlands, Liberty Global divested its Film1 channel to Sony.

In its judgement, the Commission confirmed its concerns that the merger, as initially notified, would have increased Liberty Global’s negotiating power regarding broadcasters, hindering innovation in the delivery of over-the-top (OTT) video services. The renewed approval is therefore again conditional upon the implementation of a commitments package.

To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Liberty Global has committee to terms similar to those offered in 2014. In particular this will see the company 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 the EC’s decision.

Liberty Global has also agreed 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 the EC’s decision and has assured that it will not re-acquire the Film1 channel, to ensure that this divestment is a structural change to the market.