ACCC says it won't oppose Fox Sports, Foxtel merger

News Corp's Fox Sports and co-owned Foxtel get merger green light

News Corp's Fox Sports and co-owned Foxtel get merger green light

"Given News' current interests in both Foxtel and Fox Sports, it would be unlikely that Fox Sports would be made available to competitors of Foxtel in the absence of the merger".

Australia's competition watchdog the ACCC has given the proposed merger between Foxtel and Fox Sports the green light, explaining that it didn't believe the transaction would lessen competition in the acquisition of sports broadcasting rights.

Fox Sports is completely owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, while Telstra and News Corp now share a 50-50 ownership of Foxtel.

The proposed merger would not substantially lessen competition, the ACCC found, despite increasing News Corp's stake in Foxtel as a result.

News Corp, which owns Fox Sports, will see its equity in Foxtel rise to 65% and Telstra's share will reduce to 35%.

Currently, News Corporation owns 100% of Fox Sports and owns Foxtel jointly with Telstra. "Therefore, the change in ownership structure is unlikely to substantially lessen competition", ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

Sims says the ACCC considered how the merger would affect a number of different markets and took into account feedback from a range of market participants in reaching its decision.

The ACCC defined "triple play bundles" as being voice, broadband, and content offerings.

As part of the merger transaction, Telstra is appointed the exclusive telecommunications agent for Foxtel's digital products, and Sims said an important consideration was that consumers "will still be able to access Foxtel's digital products even if they acquire broadband or mobile services from Telstra's competitors".

Telstra had added Foxtel packages into its post-paid mobile offerings several months ago, offering customers 12 months of free access to content packs from the Foxtel Now streaming service.

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