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Telia Offers Grants as EU Investigates Bonnier Contract- EU Document

Swedish telecoms operator Telia has offered grants to allow rivals fair access to its TV channels to deal with EU antitrust concerns about its $957 million bid for Bonnier Broadcasting, an EU document showed.

Telia announced the Bonnier agreement in July 2018, marking the telecoms industry’s attempt to compete with big web players such as Netflix and Amazon by acquiring media firms.

However, EU competition enforcers expressed concerns about the contract similar to the possibility of competitors being unable to access Bonnier’s TV channels once the deal is accomplished or blocked from accessing TV advertising space on its free-to-air and basic pay-TV channels in the markets for retail mobile telecommunication, fixed web, and TV services.

To mitigate the European Commission’s worries, Telia has offered to give TV distributors in Sweden and Finland fair and affordable access to its free-to-air and basic pay-TV channels, based on the document.

Telia further provided fair access to its premium sports channels and the Liiga channel package which features the first-class men’s Finnish ice hockey league.

Telia also committed to granting a permit to its TV channels to one internet provider in Finland and Sweden respectively and dedicated to selling advertising space on its TV channels on fair and cheap terms to telecoms providers and TV distributors in Finland and Sweden.

The concessions are more likely to mitigate regulatory issues and ensure the contract will get through, stated an individual familiar with the matter.

The Committee, which is scheduled to decide on the contract by Nov. 19, refused to comment.

Bonnier’s brands embody Sweden’s most significant commercial broadcaster TV4, streaming service C More and Finnish MTV. It competes with state broadcaster SVT. Critics have cited media majority in Sweden and Finland as one reason for issues about the deal.

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