Canal Digital stays with Telenor group as sale to Com Hem cancelled

19 Dec 2011

Following last month’s antitrust court action launched by the Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket), a deal has been cancelled under which the country’s largest cableco Com Hem would have acquired the Swedish cable TV business of Canal Digital, currently part of the Telenor group. Com Hem has argued that the agency’s decision should have taken into account the pay-TV market as a whole, including direct-to-home (DTH) satellite and, particularly, IPTV, rather than the cable market alone, according to Broadband TV News. Nonetheless, Canal Digital has confirmed the transaction will no longer proceed.

As reported in CommsUpdate in June, Com Hem wanted to acquire Canal’s cable operation serving around 200,000 households, while a sub-deal would have seen Canal’s IPTV user base of around 22,000 sold on by Com Hem to Swedish altnet AllTele (a transaction which is also cancelled). The lawsuit launched in November by Konkurrensverket asserted that Com Hem’s acquisition of the country’s third largest cableco would increase its market share to above 68% of the market for CATV in apartment blocks. The anti-monopoly authority concluded that the deal would ‘significantly impede the development of TV service distribution in apartment blocks’ and ‘eliminate the possibility of new entrants establishing themselves or Com Hem’s significantly smaller competitors expanding’. To carry out its intended plan to concentrate on DTH pay-TV, Canal Digital’s Swedish cable and IPTV operations will now reportedly be transferred directly under the control of telco Telenor Sweden, which, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes, already offers IPTV via triple-play subsidiary Bredbandsbolaget, but is substantially behind IPTV market leader TeliaSonera.

Sweden, Com Hem, Telenor Sweden