The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has delayed making a final decision about Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group acquiring Consolidated Media.
The Australian reports the ACCC has invited further submissions from market players, and has highlighted concerns.
SMH reports The ACCC has withheld is decision over concerns it would result in Foxtel favouring the Seven network over rival networks when it comes to acquiring sporting rights.
“The ACCC considers that this would likely result in FOX Sports favouring Seven Network over rival free-to-air networks. To the extent that Foxtel acquires sporting rights, similar concerns would arise by virtue of Seven acquiring a 25 per cent stake in, and gaining representation on the board of, Foxtel as a result of the proposed acquisition,” the statement said.
“The ACCC’s concerns arise in the free to air television market given the influence Channel Seven may be able to exert over FOX Sports Australia in joint bids and other commercial arrangements in relation to sports rights,” the ACCC said.
News Limited lodged a binding $3.45-a-share takeover offer for ConsMedia earlier this month, valuing the company at $1.94 billion, below the original $3.50 non-binding cash offer tabled for the media investment company in June. If successful, it would gain a 50 per cent shareholding in pay-TV company Foxtel and 100 per cent of FOX Sports.
A final decision is expected by October 11.