The European Commission (EC) reapproved the acquisition of Dutch cable company Ziggo by Liberty Global – a business which is now part of a fixed-mobile JV with Vodafone Group – after reviewing the original decision made in 2014.
EC officials revoked original clearance for the deal in 2017 and subsequently opened a review on the impact of the merger on the cable and pay-TV markets in the Netherlands.
Had new terms been placed on Liberty Global’s 2014 transaction – or the deal turned down completely – the knock-on effect on the Vodafone JV could have been huge. That agreement would likely have had to be completely reassessed, even though the companies already operate as one.
In a statement, the EC said the 2014 decision had been annulled for “procedural reasons” and after review had been reapproved subject to a number of conditions.
The terms are similar to those placed on Liberty back in 2014 and include providing enough capacity to support OTT broadcast services over its cable network, and measures to maintain the current level of competition in the pay-TV sector.
Liberty took over Ziggo in 2014 and merged it with its UPC business. Two years later it announced it was set to form a 50/50 joint venture with Vodafone to create a converged fixed-mobile provider in the country under the brand VodafoneZiggo.
The JV officially opened its doors, after gaining national and European-level approval, on New Year’s Eve 2016.