Regulators Clear Austar Deal

Australian regulators approved Foxtel's pending acquisition of Liberty Global's Austar Ltd. subsidiary, clearing the path for the deal to be completed by the end of May.
Foxtel, the largest pay TV distributor in Australia, proposed in May to acquire Austar for about $2.7 billion. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Tuesday that it would not oppose a deal after Foxtel agreed to adhere to several conditions. Among those conditions: Foxtel would not enter into exclusive programming contracts and is committed to providing rivals access to its channels and customers.
"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 said 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."
Liberty Global, headed by chairman John Malone, owns about 54% of Austar.