Spanish Pay-TV Deal Threatened by EU Competition Supremo

26 July 2002

Plans by Spanish pay-TV operators Sogecable and Telefonica to merge their respective digital television platforms may run into opposition from the European Union’s competition commissioner Mario Monti.

Monti said “more in-depth analysis” is needed before he can decide on Spain’s application to handle the merger on a national level. Since the deal, which would produce a Spanish pay-TV monopoly, does not affect other EU states, it can be handed down to Madrid for review.

The commissioner revealed his office had “well-known competition concerns in the pay-TV market and the market for TV content.”

Opposition from Monti could affect similar attempts to form pay-TV monopolies elsewhere in Europe, such as Rupert Murdoch’s bid to buy Italian operator Telepiu from Vivendi Universal.

Monti has until August 19 to reply to Spain’s request.

Data sourced from: Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff