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EU greenlights Telia takeover of Bonnier

The EU has provided conditional approval to Telia’s proposed SEK9.2 billion (€890 million) takeover of Bonnier Broadcasting. 

The deal, initially announced in July 2018, had been the subject of an antitrust investigation from the EU since May.

Now, following a series of concessions from the operator, the EU has greenlit the deal. It had previously been reported that the Commission was “concerned that the merged entity may shut out competitors from the audio-visual sector in Finland and Sweden”.

Telia has pledged that rivals will be offered fair access to its free-to-air and basic pay TV channels along with access to premium pay TV sports channels in Sweden and Finland.

In addition, Telia has promised that it will not discriminate against rival telcos and distributors in terms of TV ad sales.

Users will also get access to the company’s OTT services.

Outgoing Telia chairperson Marie Ehrling said: “This acquisition creates a strong Nordic player who can compete with international corporations who are very active in the Nordics.”

Telia expects the deal to close on December 2.

The news comes shortly after Telia announced the appointment of Allison Kirkby as its president and CEO.

Kirkby (pictured) will replace outgoing CEO Johan Dennelind, who will take up the mantle of CEO at Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, better known as Du. Dennelind will depart in February 2020, with Christian Luiga as acting president and CEO until Kirkby takes over in Q2.

The incoming CEO has held a variety of roles in the telecommunications industry, most recently as group CEO and president of TDC group.