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Telia’s antitrust investigation might impact $954 mn Bonnier deal

Telia, Bonnier Broadcasting

The EU Commission will provide 90 working days for Telia to consider potential concessions and to examine the deal

Swedish telecom company Telia’s deal to acquire Bonnier Broadcasting is facing an intense EU antitrust investigation after both companies failed to address competition concerns. Telia announced the $954 million acquisition deal in July last year, Reuters reported.

As part of the investigation, media competition is the biggest concern because Bonnier’s brands TV4, C More Entertainment and Finnish MTV directly compete with the state broadcaster Sveriges Television.

Last month, Telia offered concessions to the European Commission but that did not help with the regulatory concerns, according to close sources. The EU Commission will open the full-fledged investigation today. In addition, it will provide 90 working days for Telia to consider potential concessions and to examine the deal thoroughly.

Regarding the acquisition, Johan Dennelind, president and CEO of Telia Company, said, “The acquisition is a natural next step to complement Telia Company’s core business, where our millions of customers give us a very strong position in the market. Together with TV4 we will serve customers and viewers in new ways and create new business opportunities.”

The deal can especially impact the Swedish entertainment industry because the government owns 37 percent of Telia. With that, it also controls the Swedish national public television broadcaster Sveriges Television.

If Telia clears the antitrust investigation, the deal might open a new avenue for growth in Telia’s existing television business and the Bonnier Broadcasting businesses. It might also transform Sweden’s entertainment industry in many ways.

However, the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

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