Spark New Zealand confirms opposition to Vodafone NZ, Sky Network merger

16 Aug 2016

Hot on the heels of New Zealand’s Commerce Commission laying out its preliminary issues regarding the proposed merger of Vodafone NZ and Sky Network Television last month, Spark New Zealand has now confirmed it is opposing the tie-up. According to Reuters, the country’s fixed line incumbent has cited Sky’s monopoly on premium sports content rights as a key concern, with Spark New Zealand’s general manager for regulatory affairs, John Wesley-Smith noting: ‘Based on Sky’s current wholesale market arrangements for premium sports content, we don’t believe the proposed merger is in the best interests of New Zealand consumers and so should not go ahead in its current form.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2016 Sky unveiled plans to acquire all of the shares in Vodafone NZ for a total purchase price of NZD3.437 billion (USD2.33 billion) through the issue of new Sky shares – giving UK-based Vodafone Group a 51% interest in the enlarged Sky – plus a cash consideration of NZD1.250 billion, to be funded through new debt. With the transaction remaining subject to regulatory approval, the Commerce Commission is due to make a decision on the deal by 11 November 2016.

New Zealand, Commerce Commission of New Zealand, Spark, Vodafone New Zealand