ACCC delays Foxtel-Austar merger ruling

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has delayed its decision on the Foxtel-Austar merger pending further discussions with Foxtel, reports The Australian.

The move comes in the wake of protests from Telstra competitors who complained the deal gave Telstra a free hand in the emerging IPTV sector. Other competitors complained the wording of the undertakings allowed Telstra and Foxtel too much freedom.

The ACCC undertakings were aimed at giving rival players access to non-exclusive content such as foreign movies while preserving exclusive content such as sport for Foxtel.

No new date has been given for the expected decision.

Notwithstanding the delay, Austar shareholders are still scheduled to meet March 30 to approve the Foxtel takeover.

Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein said he remained optimistic about the outcome.

Foxtel is 50 per cent-owned by Telstra, 25 per cent by Consolidated Media Holdings and 25 per cent by News Limited.

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