Foxtel takeover of Austar gets green light from treasurer

Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 23-12-2011

Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel's A$1.9bn proposed takeover of fellow pay-TV company Austar has been given the green light.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said in a statement he had approved the deal under the government's foreign investment policy and foreign acquisition and takeover laws.

But he said the deal still requires approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which had previously raised concerns that the proposal would result in less competition in subscription television.

"In relation to Foxtel's proposal, the ACCC raised serious competition concerns in its statement of issues which it is still considering," he said.

"I have therefore advised Foxtel that, while I have approved the proposal under the government's foreign investment policy and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 within the statutory timeframe, a satisfactory resolution of the competition issues raised by the ACCC is still required."

Foxtel is Australia's largest pay-TV provider, with more than 1.63 million subscribers, and is 50% owned by Telstra and 25% each by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and media investment firm Consolidated Media Holdings. Austar has greater coverage in rural areas, and has more than 760,000 subscribers.