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Sky to return pay-tv assets to Mediaset after antitrust probe

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Sky to return pay-tv assets to Mediaset after antitrust probe
FILE PHOTO: A Sky van is driven in London, Britain July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)
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MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset agreed on Friday to cancel the sale of pay-tv assets to Sky’s Italian unit following a probe from the country’s antitrust regulator that said the deal could affect competition.

Mediaset announced in November it was selling its digital terrestrial pay-tv platform, known as R2, to Sky as part of a broader content agreement between the two broadcasters. A source close to the deal said Sky paid 23 million euros (£20 million).

But the deal was subject to unconditional approval from Italy’s competition watchdog, which last month said it was looking into the accord as it could affect competition in the domestic pay-TV market, where Sky is already the dominant player.

The companies said in a joint statement they considered it unlikely the watchdog would approve the deal without setting conditions and therefore the platform would return to Mediaset.

As part of Thursday’s agreement, Sky will still use the platform for some of its pay-tv subscription offers, including broadcasting Serie A football matches, under a two-year contract.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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