Mergers: EU Commission approves the creation of a joint venture by NENT and Telenor

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed creation of a newly established joint venture based in Sweden by Nordic Entertainment Group AB (“NENT”) also of Sweden and Telenor ASA of Norway.

The joint venture will be mainly active in the provision of TV distribution services in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. NENT provides TV distribution services and TV channels in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and creates, produces and distributes TV shows, commercials, feature films and branded content.

Telenor is a provider of mobile and fixed telecommunications services and TV distribution services in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and supplies mobile telecommunications services in Asia.

The joint venture will bring together Viasat Consumer, the satellite and internet protocol TV (“IPTV”) operator and broadband provider of NENT, and Canal Digital, the satellite pay-TV operator of Telenor. Viaplay which is NENT’s over-the-top (“OTT”) services provider will not be part of the joint venture.

The Commission’s assessment included whether: (i) the combination of Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer would have a detrimental impact on competition in the market for the provision of TV distribution services, (ii) NENT could stop supplying TV channels, could stop its OTT service or could degrade the conditions of supply to retail TV distributors competing with the joint venture; (iii) the joint venture could limit TV broadcaster’s and other providers of OTT services access to end users to the benefit of NENT; and (iv) the joint venture could hinder competition in the market for satellite transponder capacity.

The Commission’s investigation found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to hinder effective competition in the markets concerned. The Commission found that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns due to the limited horizontal overlaps between the companies’ activities, the decline of satellite as a distribution technology, and the fact that a number of strong players would remain in the market for the provision of TV distribution services.

In addition, the Commission found no concerns regarding the vertical links between the upstream and the downstream related markets, as the companies would not have the ability and/or the incentive to engage in practices to shut out customers or suppliers, and even if they did, there would be no appreciable effect on the markets.

The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in any of the markets examined.

More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9604.

Arianna Podesta –

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