The European Commission has given its approval for the proposed acquisitions of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia by BSkyB. The shareholdings are currently owned by 21st Century Fox.
In a statement the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, since the companies served three separate markets.
At issue was the licensing of free-to-air content for pay-TV, the wholesale supply of TV channels for free-to-air (FTA) and for pay-TV, the retailing of audio-visual programming FTA and pay-TV to consumers and the sale of TV advertising airtime is national or along linguistically homogeneous areas.
There was also an investigation into whether the merged organisation’s buying power in movies and sports might also harm competitors, where it found it unlikely it would be able to force a change in licensing practices.
“There are practical obstacles, such as different timelines for the negotiations of certain rights licensing. Second, rights holders would not deviate from their current preferred model of licensing, unless it is in their interest in terms of maximising revenues. The Commission notes that although there are already a number of broadcasters that operate across various territories in the European Economic Area (EEA), rights holders have not accepted the practice of multi-territorial licensing to any meaningful extent,” the Commission’s statement read.