The European Commission (EC) has conditionally reapproved the 2014 acquisition of Dutch cableco Zesko (Ziggo) by Liberty Global, which subsequently merged the acquired company with its existing UPC Netherlands cable division ahead of another merger into quad-play joint venture VodafoneZiggo, 50%-owned by Vodafone Group, in December 2016. The original October 2014 merger approval was annulled by the General Court in October 2017 for procedural reasons following an appeal by Dutch former monopoly telco KPN, and in April 2018 Liberty once again filed an approval request to the EC, which has now completed its reassessment of the merger.
The EC has concluded that the transaction does not raise competition concerns, conditional upon Liberty Global’s compliance with the following commitments:
- to terminate clauses in channel carriage agreements that limit broadcasters’ ability to offer their channels and content over the internet, and not include such clauses in future channel carriage agreements for eight years
- to maintain adequate interconnection capacity through at least three uncongested routes into its internet network in the Netherlands, helping to ensure sufficient capacity for competing OTT services, also for eight years
- not to re-acquire the ‘Film1’ TV channel.