The Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) opened an in-depth investigation into the companies MP Silva S.r.l., IMG Media UK Limited and B4 Italia S.r.l. (respectively “MP Silva”, “IMG” and “B4” and, jointly, the “Accused Companies”), operating in the television broadcasting rights of football matches.
The ICA found that the alleged anti-competitive behaviour lasted at least six years from 2009 to 2015 and consisted of sharing profits deriving from the assignment of foreign television broadcasting rights of football matches after winning tenders held from time to time by Lega Professionisti Serie A (“Lega”). Indeed, the Accused Companies would agree upon the bids and determine a geographic division referring to the distribution of such broadcasting rights.
The alleged collusion among the Accused Companies would be aimed at altering Lega’s tender results in order to share profits stemming from the sale of them in other countries and decide the geographical areas of distribution.
In light of the above, the ICA alleges that the aforementioned conduct would amount to an infringement of Section 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, the alleged anti-competitive behaviour has yet to be proven at this stage and the investigation continues.