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Foxtel’s $2b Austar acquisition gets ACCC green light

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has opted not to oppose Foxtel’s $2 billion acquisition of Austar (AUN: ASX) after accepting detailed undertakings from Foxtel to enhance competition.

The court-enforceable undertakings prevent Foxtel from acquiring exclusive internet protocol television (IPTV) rights for a range of television programs and movies, bans the company from exclusively buying any movies delivered on a transactional video-on-demand basis and prevents the pay-TV giant from buying exclusive mobile rights to TV shows and movies where the rights are sought by its competitors to combine with IPTV rights.

"By reducing content exclusivity, the undertakings will lower barriers to entry and promote new and effective competition in metropolitan and regional telecommunications and subscription television markets," ACCC chairman Rod Sims says in a statement.

"Taking into account the undertaking which has been offered by Foxtel, the ACCC is satisfied that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition," Sims says.

The two companies will go to the Federal Court on April 13 for approval and the transaction is due to be completed on April 16.

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