Telefónica to drop Canal Plus acquisition?

Tough approval conditions from the Spanish competition watchdog CNMC could see an end to Telefónica’s acquisition of Canal Plus.

Negotiations between CNMC and Telefónica are reportedly about to collapse since the telco will not agree to share content and TV rights with rivals (Orange, Vodafone-ONO) as the CNMC is demanding to give its go-ahead to the acquisition.

The CNMC is likely to come up with a final decision in March with an initial report published over the next few weeks. Telefónica has made it clear that it will not share TV rights which have been acquired on a exclusive basis, but the watchdog is insistent on this to avoid a monopoly in TV content.

Recently, the EC expressed concerns about the operation on the grounds that both companies, Telefónica and Canal Plus, would control a market share of over 80 per cent, with pay TV, TV rights, TV distribution and sales of added-value telco services at monopoly risk.

Last year, media group Prisa agreed to sell 56 per cent of DTS, known as Canal Plus in Spain, to Telefónica in a deal that would give it full control over the TV group. With the deal, Telefónica would become the number one in pay TV with more than 3 million subscribers way ahead of Vodafone-ONO with 700,000 customers.

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