On 6 October 2020 the European Commission unconditionally approved PPF’s acquisition of CME in Phase I. PPF and CME are mainly active at different levels of the TV value chain, where CME is mainly active as a wholesale supplier of TV channels in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, while PPF offers retail audio-visual and telecommunications services in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In addition, both companies are active in the acquisition of sports broadcasting rights in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and in the sale of advertising space in the Czech Republic.
During its investigation, the Commission assessed the parties’ ability and incentive to engage in total input foreclosure of downstream competitors (i.e. restricting access to all or some of CME’s channels) or partial input foreclosure of downstream competitors (i.e. degrading the commercial terms to license CME’s channels or reducing their quality). The Commission found that despite the popularity of CME’s channels, the merged entity would have an incentive to keep CME’s channels widely available. It also assessed several further potential input and customer foreclosure concerns. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the EEA.