ERC opposes Portugal Telecom’s Sport TV
January 27, 2014
From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Portugal’s Regulatory Authority for the Media (ERC) has, for the second time, rejected the new shareholding structure of pay-TV company Sport TV.
The so-called “Operation Triangle” would see Portugal Telecom becoming a shareholder in the operator of sports pay-TV channels that is currently 50/50 owned by sports rights company Sportinveste and telecommunications operator Zon Optimus. The new shareholding structure would see Portugal Telecom and Zon Optimus having 25 per cent each, while Sportinveste would have the remaining 50 per cent.
According to daily Publico, at an extraordinary meeting of its Regulatory Council, the media regulator reiterated its initial (and binding) negative opinion by majority vote. The ERC poses as a condition of non-opposition the review of the shareholding agreement, particularly with regard to the clauses of future non-competition between operators on sports content and gives a deadline of six months for this to occur.
The initial negative opinion of the ERC, as well as another requested from the National Communications Authority (Anacom), together with the opposition to the merger by operators Vodafone and Cabovisão and the Portuguese League clubs, motivated Portugal’s Competition Authority to launch a “thorough investigation” in July 2013 that is still ongoing.
The companies involved in the merger disagree with the decision and launched a case before the Court for Competition, Regulation and Supervision (TCRS), arguing that the legally established deadline for the Competition Authority to decide on the operation was exceeded.
In addition, Sportinveste claims that the new shareholding structure of Sport TV “meets the interest” of customers and enhances the company’s offer.