ACCC Statement: Not Looking Good For Foxtel
Foxtel has proposed to acquire up to a 15 per cent stake in Ten, however the ACCC has today stated it has concerns with the acquisition, with sports broadcasting of particular concern, in releasing a statement of issues.
“The ACCC is concerned that the proposed acquisitions have the potential to substantially lessen competition for the supply of free-to-air television services in Australia, particularly in the broadcasting of sports content,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims commented.
“The proposed acquisitions may increase the likelihood of Ten and Foxtel entering into joint bids and other commercial arrangements for acquisition of sports rights, to the exclusion of other free-to-air networks.”
Sims noted these arrangements could “enhance Ten’s ability to acquire the rights to sports, including premium sports”, potentially increasing the likelihood of more sport being shown exclusively on Foxtel.
“Given the importance of sporting content to a broadcaster’s ability to compete strongly with other free-to-air networks, the ACCC is concerned that the advantage Ten would gain in acquiring sporting content may lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the free-to-air television market, or in the broader market for the supply of television viewing services,” he commented.
Sims additionally pointed to advertising sales concerns.
“The ACCC is also concerned that the proposed acquisitions may reduce competition in the sale of advertising, including by further consolidation in this market, and by removing or reducing competition between Ten and Foxtel for advertising sales,” he stated.
Ten, meanwhile, has released a short statement in response to the ACCC announcement,
“Ten is in the process of reviewing the document and preparing its response,” Ten stated. “Ten firmly considers that the objective evidence establishes that the proposed transactions will increase competition in the relevant markets.”
Under the deal, Foxtel proposes to acquire up to 15 per cent of Ten, while Ten proposes to acquire a 24.99 per cent stake in Multi Channel Network, a supplier of advertising opportunities on subscription television channels, and will have an option to acquire 10 per cent of Presto TV.
The statement of issues can be found here.