The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has again decided to delay its decision on Foxtel’s plans to buy a 15 per cent stake of the Ten Network.
The (already delayed) decision was due this week; however, it is understood that both the ACCC and other media networks – namely Nine and Seven – have aired concerns it will give the Murdoch-News-Foxtel-Ten deal too much power, particularly when it comes to negotiating sports rights.
In late July, Ten’s CEO Hamish McLennan suddenly quit his post in a move many people saw as a way to smooth over ACCC concerns. It was thought McLennan was simply too close to News and the Murdoch clan and his sudden departure was one less obstacle to the deal.
The ACCC is also concerned the deal may “reduce or even eliminate competition between Foxtel and Ten for the supply of advertising services”.
This morning Ten issued a statement debunking the concerns. “(Ten) firmly considers that the objective evidence establishes that the proposed transactions will increase competition in the relevant markets,” the statement read.
ACCC’s chairman Rod Sims said: “The ACCC is concerned that the proposed acquisitions have the potential to substantially lessen competition for the supply of free-to-air television services in Australia, particularly in the broadcasting of sports content.
“The proposed acquisitions may increase the likelihood of Ten and Foxtel entering into joint bids and other commercial arrangements for acquisition of sports rights, to the exclusion of other free-to-air networks.
“Such arrangements could enhance Ten’s ability to acquire the rights to sports, including premium sports, and could increase the likelihood of more sport being shown exclusively on Foxtel,” he said.