Sky Network Television and Vodafone New Zealand filed an appeal against a Commerce Commission decision to block their proposed NZD1.3 billion ($936 million) merger.
In a statement issued on the New Zealand stock exchange, the companies said they had filed appeals within the statutory time period “in order to preserve their rights”, while they wait for details of the competition regulator’s full reasons for rejecting the deal.
The Commerce Commission blocked the merger in February due to concerns it would “substantially lessen competition”, based on an assessment of the country’s broadband and mobile markets.
The proposed merger was first announced in June 2016, as the companies looked to create a “leading integrated telecommunications and media group in New Zealand”. The merged entity would also have a monopoly in premium sports content in the country.
However, the proposal was met by stiff opposition from rivals, including Spark, 2 Degrees and Internet NZ, which sucessfully filed applications to New Zealand’s High Court seeking a stay on the merger in the event the Commerce Commission cleared the deal.
At the time of the rejection, Reuters reported Sky was mulling either walking away from the bid or appealing the decision in the High Court, which it has now exercised.
The appeal process could reportedly take at least a year.