Short Reads

ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of evidence of consumer harm

ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of e

ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of evidence of consumer harm

01.08.2017 NL law

On 10 July 2017, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) discontinued its preliminary investigation into Fox. The investigation followed a complaint by cable company CAIW, alleging that the new conditions imposed by Fox on TV distributors in relation to live-soccer matches were discriminatory. The ACM, however, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that these conditions would result in consumer harm and/or an appreciable restriction of competition.

On 29 November 2012, the ACM approved the acquisition of Eredivisie Media & Marketing (EMM) by Fox. Through EMM Fox holds an exclusive broadcasting licence for live-soccer matches of the Dutch premier league, the Eredivisie. Simultaneously, the ACM issued an 'informal opinion' listing several conditions that Fox should abide by when commercializing the broadcasting rights to avoid potential anticompetitive effects. The ACM also stated that Fox should offer its broadcasting rights to interested TV distributors under non-discriminatory conditions.

In 2016, Fox changed the conditions for the broadcasting of live Eredivisie matches. This led one such distributor (CAIW) to submit a complaint to the ACM. CAIW argued that the new conditions were discriminatory and disadvantageous for smaller distributors. Under the previous system, distributors would pay Fox a percentage for each customer that subscribed to the live Eredivisie matches. However, under the new conditions, distributors are required to pay for each customer, even if the customer has a television subscription that does not include Eredivisie matches.

The ACM acknowledged that Fox provides the same product to its distributors under different conditions, as the change in conditions does not apply to Ziggo which has a contract until 2020. According to the ACM's market investigation, these different conditions lead to substantial price differences. Notwithstanding these findings, the ACM concluded that the new conditions do not appear to appreciably restrict competition between distributors at the expense of consumers.

In fact, the new conditions have in the short term resulted in a cheaper and more varied offering by distributors. The ACM added that Eredivisie matches are only one element in the broader product assortment of distributors. Moreover, the relative importance of the Eredivisie rights was not significant enough to conclude that a change in the conditions would distort competition in the market to the detriment of consumers. Therefore, the ACM decided to discontinue its investigation into Fox. 

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of August 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. Court of Justice dismisses Toshiba's appeal against the gas-insulated switchgear fine
2. Recent enforcement action demonstrates an increasing focus on compliance with procedural EU merger rules
3. Trade and Industry Appeals annuls fine imposed on real estate traders
4. District Court of Rotterdam upheld ACM's decision to clear lottery merger
5. District Court of The Hague rules on ACM's powers to select and inspect digital data

Team

Related news

07.02.2019 NL law
The ACM follows EU approach in its first pharmaceutical merger

Short Reads - The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) recently reviewed its first merger between two pharmaceutical companies. In its conditional clearance of Aurobindo's acquisition of certain European Apotex assets, the ACM followed the European Commission's approach in assessing the merger's impact on competition. Companies will welcome the news that pharma mergers will be reviewed in a similar fashion, irrespective of whether the ACM or the European Commission conducts the review.

Read more

07.02.2019 EU law
Digitisation and competition law: past, present and future

Short Reads - It is nearly time for the European Commission to reveal its course of action in digitisation and competition law. Feedback from a public consultation and the recent conference on 'Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation' together with the upcoming expert panel's report on the future challenges of digitisation for competition policy are likely to shape the Commission's course of action.

Read more

07.02.2019 NL law
Follow-on cartel damages claim dismissed: don't bury courts under paper work

Short Reads - A recent ruling by the Dutch Court of Appeal confirmed that claimants will need to sufficiently substantiate their claim that they suffered loss due to a cartel, even in follow-on cases. Despite a presumption that sales or service contracts concluded during the cartel period have been affected by the cartel, claimants will still need to provide the courts with concrete, detailed and uncluttered information showing (i) which party purchased (ii) which products from (iii) which manufacturer for (iv) which amount, preferably with copies of the relevant agreements.

Read more

07.02.2019 NL law
The need for speed in mergers is no reason to ignore rights of defence

Short Reads - On 16 January 2019, the European Court of Justice clarified the procedural guarantees the European Commission needs to provide to merging parties during merger reviews. According to the Court of Justice, the General Court (GC) had rightly annulled the Commission's decision to prohibit the merger of UPS and TNT. UPS's right of defence had been infringed because the Commission had failed to share the final version of the econometric model with UPS before adopting its prohibition decision.

Read more

28.01.2019 LU law
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg implements the Register of Beneficial Owners Law

Articles - The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has fulfilled its European obligations in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism by transposing Directive 2015/849 of 20 May 2015 (also known as the 4th EU AML Directive) into national law with the brand new Law of 13 January 2019 (the RBE Law). Below is an overview of the important disclosure obligations that will soon apply to a wide range of Luxembourg entities.

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring