On February 26, 2006, the Spanish Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia (TDC) concluded a second phase investigation on the acquisition by the Spanish media group Sogecable of sole control over the media rights manager Audivisual Sports, S.L. (AVS). The TDC considered that the transaction would strengthen Sogecable’s dominant position in the exploitation of rights for the Pay-TV market and could also foreclose the market for the distribution of Spanish football through the internet and mobile phones. The TDC recommended clearing the transaction subject to the following conditions: (i) AVS must grant third parties non-exclusive access to pay-per-view rights on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory terms; (ii) if Sogecable/AVS decides to increase the number of matches broadcast on Pay-TV, it has to do it on a non-exclusive basis and grant third parties access to such rights on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory terms; and (iii) AVS must grant third parties non-exclusive access to rights for the distribution of Spanish football through the internet and mobile phones on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory terms. The TDC’s report is non-binding but is likely to be followed by the Spanish government, which will be taking a decision within the next month.
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