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Telia completes Bonnier takeover

The European Commission has approved Swedish telco Telia’s acquisition of Scandinavian broadcast group, Bonnier.

Casten Almqvist

The EC’s approval will pave way for the telco to complete the SEK9.2bn (US$1bn) merger, which is now expected to go ahead on December 2.

The deal, which was announced last year, will see Telia acquire Bonnier’s brands including: free-to-air channel TV4 in Sweden; ad-supported VoD platform TV4 Play; pan-regional pay TV service C More, which comes with its own SVoD platform available in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway; and Finnish channel MTV.

The Swedish telco anticipated that the merged companies will generate a run rate of SEK600m (US$61.67m) by 2022.

TV4, C More and MTV will become part of Telia Company’s newly established business area for media. Casten Almqvist, who is currently CEO of Bonnier Broadcasting, will be responsible for the new business area, which will also include Telia Company’s current media operations.

Telia had to meet several demands of the EC before it could get its approval, including ensuring it would not stifle competition.

The EC launched an investigation into the merger in May over fears it would “shut out competitors from the audiovisual sector in Finland and Sweden”.

Telia agreed to give its rivals fair access to Bonnier’s free-to-air and basic sports channels in Sweden and Finland. It also promised to license standalone OTT rights to one other market player in each of those countries.

The company also pledged to not discriminate against telco competitors and distributors when it came to the sale of TV ads on its channels.

“The decision means that the European Commission sees the benefits for consumers of combining Telia Company and Bonnier Broadcasting,” said Marie Ehrling, chair of the Telia Company board.

“This acquisition creates a strong Nordic player who can compete with international corporations who are very active in the Nordics. As a media owner, Telia Company will ensure that continued editorial independence is upheld vis-à-vis the owners, Board and management.”

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