The Chilean Fiscalía Nacional Económica (FNE) has approved AT&T’s pending acquisition of Time Warner, but with “targeted behavioral conditions” to address specific competition issues identified by the regulator.
In the country, AT&T owns the DTH operator DirecTV while Time Warner provides – through its Turner and HBO divisions – pay TV channels, including CNN Chile, and also operates the free-to-air TV broadcaster Chilevisión (which acquired in 2010).
The FNE focused its analysis on three types of risks that could eventually reduce competition: a customer blocking strategy, which was discarded; the transfer of sensitive information, which although it was not possible to discard, was not considered significant; and a strategy of blocking (total or partial) inputs, which was the main risk identified by the FNE with sufficient capacity to reduce competition.
In response, both companies offered measures to mitigate identified risks, including safeguarding the confidentiality of sensitive information, granting access to Time Warner’s programming channels on non-discriminatory terms, and the offer of an arbitration body as a settlement mechanism for disputes occurring during the negotiation or renegotiation of the licensing agreements with pay TV operators.
“The FNE, taking into account the relevance of the operation at global level, as well as the identified risks, accepted the measures offered, as they are effective, suitable, sufficient and feasible to implement,” said the regulator in its statement.
With Chile’s approval, AT&T and Time Warner have received merger approval from 17 competition authorities reviewing the transaction worldwide outside the United States.