Telefónica's buyout of Canal+ gets the green light

DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 23 April 2015

The Spanish pay-TV market is about to get a giant new operator, with over 3.5 million subscribers in a sector of 5.5 million subs, as the country's watchdog has given the go-ahead to Telefónica's purchase of Canal+ almost a year after the formal offer was presented.

evoltvNot all of the conditions of the deal have been unveiled yet, but Telefónica is required to share 50% of its premium content with other pay-TV operators in order to avoid market monopolisation, although Vodafone and Orange, the most affected by the operation, had requested this figure be 75%.

According to the newspaper Vozpopuli, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) has also imposed on Telefónica a shorter exclusivity time period over its clients, meaning it will only be able to make exclusive rights deals for up to three years.

The negotiations have been tricky from the start, when Telefónica's competitors brought the case to the European Commission.

The new company will own seven out of ten subscribers and around 80% of the market's current income, as Telefónica's two million subs will be added to Canal+'s 1.6 million, a far higher number than the third-place player, Vodafone's ONO, with 800,000.

On the other side of the agreement, the CNMC's decision is a relief to Prisa which will now receive around €725 million which it hopes will ensure its survival.