Telecom Italia disputes French ministry’s decision to sanction TPS/CanalSat merger

5 Dec 2006

Telecom Italia (TI) has reportedly filed an appeal with the State Council of France over the Finance Ministry’s decision to allow the merger of Vivendi’s pay-TV division CanalSat with TF1/M6’s TPS unit. The Italian firm markets ADSL services through its Alice France division and also offers TV-over-DSL. According to AFX News, TI says the merger decision brings with it the spectre of ‘substantial competition risks’. The proposed tie-up was approved in August this year after CanalSat and TPS agreed to comply with no fewer than 59 conditions relating to antitrust issues affecting the deal. The Italian giant is not alone in expressing concern: France Télécom has also voiced its reservations, while several other triple-play telecoms operators, such as neuf Cegetel and Club Internet, have claimed to have had problems securing content that is currently available to cablecos.

The merger of the two units is expected to be completed by the end of 2006, following which the enlarged entity – with the working title CanalPlusFrance – will be 65% owned by Vivendi’’s Canal Plus, 20% by Lagardere, 9.9% by TF1 and 5.1% by M6.

France, neuf Cegetel, Telecom Italia (TIM)