Sole Control: The Belgian Competition Authority Clears a Vertical Merger in the Audiovisual Sector, Subject to Conditions
Concurrences Competition Law Review, Nr. 3 - 2019, p.120-122 (September 2019)
5 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020
Date Written: August 1, 2019
This case note analyses and comments on the Belgian Competition Authority's approval of Telenet's acquisition of sole control over De Vijver Media. The decision, rendered in May 2019, allowed Telenet to acquire sole control over De Vijver Media but imposed several remedies on Telenet. The acquisition combined a cable operator and a TV broadcaster and was therefore a vertical merger. It is part of a broader wave of vertical integration between content providers and TV distributors, often said to be a response to the threat of vertically integrated entities like Netflix and Amazon.
The decision offers an interesting example of how the vertical effects of media mergers are assessed. It also analyses the role that data, platforms and algorithms play in the distribution of TV content and articulates several theories of harm on that basis.
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