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Spanish regulator takes Canal+ investigation to next stage

Telefonica buildingSpanish regulator the CNMC has opened a second phase of its investigation of Telefónica’s proposed €750 million takeover of Canal+ Spain from Prisa on the grounds that it could restrict competition in pay TV.

The acquisition, taking Telefónica’s stake in Canal+ from 44% to 100%, will give Telefónica an additional 1.6 million pay TV customers as well as access to Prisa’s TV rights, including rights to Spanish football. Canal+’s channels are currently made available to rival fixed-line operators in the country, while Telefónica delivers its own fixed-line pay TV service Movistar Fusion. The CNMC is concerned that Telefónica may stop providing some of the channels to rival operators.

The regulator is also concerned about the impact the acquisition could have in the fixed and mobile communications market by strengthening Telefónica’s position in the acquisition of content.