EU clears Liberty, Ziggo deal

The European Commission has approved Liberty Global’s takeover of Dutch cablecom Ziggo, but the US cable TV provider must end limits on broadcasters’ freedom to offer programmes online.

“Liberty Global offered to sell Film1, its premium Pay TV film channel,” the Commission said in a statement. “Liberty Global also committed to terminate clauses in channel carriage agreements that limit broadcasters’ ability to offer their channels and content over the Internet,” it said.

Such clauses cannot be used in future agreements for eight years, the Commission said.

Liberty Global, which makes 90 per cent of its revenue in Europe and is controlled by billionaire John Malone, made the concessions after the Commission said the deal may reduce competition in the Netherlands and result in higher consumer prices.

The deal values Ziggo and its debt at around €10 billion.

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