AdC opens in-depth investigation into the Altice/Media Capital merger

Comunicado 03/2018
 
AdC opens in-depth investigation into the Altice/Media Capital merger
 
 
The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência – AdC) decided to proceed to an in-depth investigation into the merger involving the acquisition of Media Capital by Altice.
 
The Media Capital group owns, among others, the Plural Entertainment producer, the TVI channels, the Rádio Comercial, M80, Cidade FM, Smooth FM and Rádio Vodafone radio stations, the IOL internet portal, and the internet-based TVI Player platform.
 
The merger involves the vertical integration between one of the leading providers of telecommunications, pay-TV and multiple play services, and the leading provider of audiovisual contents and pay-TV channels in Portugal.
 
The decision to proceed to an in-depth investigation is grounded in the fact that, based on the evidence gathered so far, there are strong indications that the acquisition of Media Capital by Altice may give rise to significant impediments to effective competition in several markets, in terms of both audiovisual content production and competition between TV channels and advertising markets, and in the telecommunications and pay-TV services markets.
 
The merger is also likely to have a significantly negative impact in the development of new TV contents and business models regarding the online broadcast and access to audiovisual contents.
 
Prior to this decision, the AdC has provided the notifying party and interested parties (NOS, Vodafone, Impresa, ARTelecom, Nowo and Cofina) the opportunity to comment on the several anticompetitive effects of the merger identified by the AdC.
 
The deadline for the submission of comments was extended upon demand of the interested parties.
 
In the course of the in-depth investigation, the AdC will gather further evidence necessary to appraise the facts of the merger and reach a final decision.
 
According to the Portuguese Competition Act, the notifying party may offer commitments to guarantee the maintenance of effective competition in the market. The AdC may accept the commitments when deemed to be adequate and sufficient, but may reject the submission if it is merely a delaying tactic, if the commitments are insufficient or inadequate to prevent the restrictions of competition identified, or if the feasibility of such commitments is uncertain.
 
Upon the closing of the in-depth investigation, the AdC may:
  • Adopt a non-opposition decision, if it considers that the merger, as notified, or as modified by Altice, is not likely to create significant impediments to competition in the markets for telecommunications and pay-TV services, and audiovisual contents and pay-TV channels; or
  • Adopt a prohibition decision, if it considers that the merger is likely to create significant impediments to effective competition in the mentioned markets and, consequently, harm the final consumers and undermine the development of new TV contents and business models.
      
 
15 February 2018