Mergers: Commission approves proposed joint venture between SES Astra and Eutelsat
European Commission - IP/07/1176 25/07/2007
Brussels, 25th July 2007
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture between SES Astra of Luxembourg and Eutelsat of France for the provision of satellite infrastructure for broadcasting mobile TV as well as voice and data communication services to mobile devices. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Astra offers satellite-based broadcasting and broadband solutions which include broadcasting of television and radio programmes, internet access and network services. Eutelsat, like Astra, is a satellite operator offering satellite-based broadcasting and broadband services. The proposed transaction would create a joint venture to provide satellite-based infrastructure for both broadcasting content to mobile devices and two-way voice and data communication services to mobile devices.
The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that, with respect to the provision of satellite-based infrastructure for broadcasting content to mobile devices, such as mobile telephones, customers would continue to have a sufficient choice of alternative infrastructures based on a variety of technical transmission standards. In some Member States (Germany, Finland, Italy, UK) operators recently started broadcasting content to mobile devices, such as mobile TV, via different technology standards e.g. DMB, DVB-H, DAB-IP. The Commission also found that the proposed joint venture services would not lead to a co-ordination or strengthening of the activities of Astra's and Eutelsat's own businesses, that is basically the provision of broadcasting services and solutions to fixed devices.
With respect to the provision of infrastructure for two-way voice and data
communication services to mobile devices, the Commission concluded that no
competition concern would arise since the joint venture would face a sufficient
number of strong competitors that are currently active on this market.