Sky TV fights for right to merge

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - TOM PULLAR-STRECKER

Sky TV and Voda­fone will go to the High Court to ar­gue the Com­merce Com­mis­sion got it wrong when it said their merger might sub­stan­tially lessen com­pe­ti­tion.

Sky re­leased de­tails on the com­pa­nies plan to ap­peal the com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog’s re­fusal in February to clear their merger.

Law firm Bell Gully, act­ing for Sky and Voda­fone, said the reg­u­la­tor was wrong to think Voda­fone’s ri­vals in the broad­band and mo­bile mar­kets might need ac­cess to Sky Sports to ef­fec­tively com­pete against the merged firm.

The ap­peal claim said the com­mis­sion mis­judged a lot of in­cen­tives on the merged firm and failed to con­sider the prospects of the merged firm of­fer­ing its pro­gram­ming to ri­val telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers on com­pet­i­tive terms.

The com­mis­sion failed to place suf­fi­cient weight on the ben­e­fits of the pro­posed merger, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that the merger would help Sky and Voda­fone de­velop new prod­ucts and achieve ‘‘dy­namic ef­fi­cien­cies’’, the com­pa­nies claimed.

Sky and Voda­fone have also al­leged the com­mis­sion made er­rors in law.

The com­pa­nies will ask the High Court to re­verse the com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sion to refuse clear­ance for their merger.

Spark spokesman Richard Llewellyn said its views on the merger had not changed.

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