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SBD Global/September 14, 2012/Media

ACCC Withholds Decision On Whether The Seven Group Is Allowed To Acquire CMH

The competition regulator "has withheld its decision" on whether to allow Kerry Stoke’s Seven Group to acquire the shares in Consolidated Media Holdings that it currently does not own, according to Colin Kruger of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The decision comes "over concerns such a move would result in pay-TV's Foxtel favouring the Seven network over rival networks when it comes to acquiring sporting rights." The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that it "will finalise its view on this matter after it considers market responses to a statement of issues" it released Wednesday morning. By acquiring CMH, Seven would acquire a 25% stake in pay-TV provider Foxtel, and 50% of FOX Sports Australia, which "owns much of the content broadcast on Foxtel." The commission said in a statement: "The ACCC is concerned that Seven’s acquisition of a 50% interest in FSA as well as the representation on the board of FSA that it would gain as a result of the proposed acquisition, would enable Seven to exercise significant influence over FSA." Seven flagged that it "has not given up on its bid for CMH, despite the ACCC concerns." A Seven spokesperson said, "We will continue working through the issues with ACCC in an effort to resolve their concerns."If Stokes goes ahead with a bid it "will pit him directly against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.," which has already received backing for its $2B bid from CMH’s largest shareholder, James Packer, in the absence of a higher bid (SMH, 9/13).
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