Portuguese regulator rejects Altice, Media Capital deal

Portugal’s National Communications Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações [Anacom]) has rejected the proposed acquisition by global telecom operator Altice of Portuguese media company Media Capital.

The regulator stated that the deal may create “significant barriers to effective competition in the various electronic communications markets”.

According to Anacom, “given the size of the parties involved in the operation, there is evidence that the merged company will have the capacity and incentives” to “completely or partially terminate the access of competitors to content, TV and radio channels as well as to advertising space”.

The regulator also pointed out that the new company could “use sensitive or confidential information of competitors for its benefit, especially in the context of advertising campaigns” and “introduce less transparency in the prices charged for the DTT service internally (including for its national channel TVI) and externally (to other TV operators)”.

Another possibility for irregular action concerns the ability of the new company to “completely or partially block access of other national TV channels to its pay-TV platforms, internet portals, and OTT services”.

However, Anacom’s opinion is not binding, since the final decision lies with the Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência [AdC]), or the Regulatory Body for Social Communication (Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social [ERC]). The ERC has postponed issuing its decision on the case to the AdC until October 10th.

The €440 million deal was announced in July by Altice, which already owns Portugal Telecom in Portugal.

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