The Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) has decided to open an in-depth investigation of Vivacom’s (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, BTC’s) planned acquisition of National Unit Radio and TV Systems (NURTS) Digital, a digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplex operator in Bulgaria. The anti-monopoly watchdog said that the combined enterprise could have a competitive advantage in two adjacent markets, the Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) signals market, and the distribution of TV channels via paid platforms (i.e. satellite and internet protocol [IP]).
Further, the regulator has disclosed that if the merger is approved, the newly enlarged operator would possess well developed infrastructure which could be considered ‘strategically important’, as it could not necessarily be duplicated by its competitors. A potential restriction of access to this infrastructure could hamper competition and affect the quality and price of services, the CPC said. The regulator will now analyse the aforementioned markets in depth in order to establish the potential risks and/or benefits of the proposed deal.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in September 2014 Vivacom informed the CPC that it intended to acquire NURTS Digital. The NURTS Bulgaria group invested in and set up the infrastructure necessary for the distribution of DVB-T signals within the territory of Bulgaria, but its owners decided to divest the unit, due to ‘the macroeconomic situation and lack of consumer interest in the digital over-the-air signal’. In its letter of intent, Vivacom declared that it would fulfill all contractual and legal duties of NURTS Bulgaria.