Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has this morning approved Foxtel’s 15 per cent stake in Network Ten, overruling fears it breached media ownership laws.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has also rubber-stamped the deal, saying it is satisfied the new union “will not contravene diversity and control rules”.
ACCC boss Rod Sims had initially signalled that he had concerns about the deal, proven by the fact that it took so long to get the go ahead.
Sims said of the ruling: “While the acquisitions will lead to a greater alignment of Foxtel’s and Ten’s interests, and will increase the degree of influence Foxtel has over Ten, the ACCC considers that the proposed acquisitions, on their own, are unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition.”
It is understood Nine and Seven were agitators against the deal and any potential impact it would have on sports rights and group advertising deals.
In a statement to media this morning, Ten said of the deal. “The proposed transactions will enable Ten to reduce debt and provide additional financial flexibility to continue its strong ratings momentum.”
Ten non-executive chairman, David Gordon, said: “We are very pleased to receive clearance from the ACCC and the ACMA for the proposed transactions.
“The approval from the ACCC and the ACMA represents another important step for Ten to conclude the strategic review process initiated by the Board last year.
“By entering into the transaction with Foxtel and completing our proposed entitlement offer to all Ten shareholders, Ten will receive the capital it needs to continue its turnaround. Through the arrangements with MCN, our advertising clients will receive the benefit of new efficiencies, improved data capability and broader integration opportunities,” Gordon said.
It added that the proposed transaction still remains subject to certain conditions and other regulatory approvals, including the Foreign Investment Review Board.