Decision Nº M/04/011 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2004-03-16

JurisdictionIreland
PartiesLiberty Media,Princes Holdings
Date16 March 2004
Decision Date16 March 2004
StatusPreliminary investigation (Phase 1)
CourtCompetition and Consumer Protection Commission (Ireland)
Decision NumberM/04/011
1
Determination No. M/04/011 of the Competition Authority, dated 16th
March 2004, under Section 21 of the Competition Act, 2002
Notification No. M/04/011 – Liberty Media Corporation Proposed
Acquisition of Princes Holdings Limited from Independent
Communications (International) Limited
Introduction
1. On 18th February 2004, the Competition Authority, in accordance with Section
18 (1) of the Competition Act, 2002, (“the Act”) was notified, on a mandatory
basis, of a proposal whereby Liberty Media Corporation (“Liberty”) would
acquire half of the issued shares of Princes Holdings Limited (“PHL”) from
Independent Communications (International) Limited (“Independent”),
resulting in Liberty having the sole control of PHL. The Authority, in
accordance with s 23(1)(b) of the Act, notified the parties that it considers
the transaction to be a media merger.
The Parties
2. Liberty, through three of its subsidiaries, and Independent equally hold the
issued shares of PHL. Additionally, Liberty has a controlling interest in a
number of companies that make sales into Ireland.
- OpenTV Corp (“OpenTV”): this company provides interactive platform
software and solutions to cable, satellite and terrestrial network
operators. It also manufactures set-top boxes that enable Internet
access, streaming video and customised information via a traditional
television. In Ireland, OpenTV supplies middleware for use in digital
set-top boxes in the operation of interactive television. Both Chorus
and Sky (a provider of direct to home (“DTH”) satellite television
service) use the OpenTV middleware. OpenTV does not have a branch
or office in Ireland.
- Discovery Communications Inc. (“Discovery”): Liberty holds a 50%
joint controlling interest in Discovery. Discovery produces a number of
television channels that are supplied to cable, DTH satellite and digital
terrestrial television operators.
- QVC, Inc. (“QVC”): QVC retails a wide range of consumer products
mainly through televised-shopping programmes, but also through the
Internet and directly through outlet stores. Cable, DTH satellite, and
multi-point microwave distribution systems (“MMDS”) operators in
Ireland carry the QVC home shopping channels. QVC has no branch or
office in Ireland.
3. PHL owns 100% of Chorus Communication Limited (“Chorus”). Chorus is
principally active in the provision of digital and analogue television
retransmission services (via cable and MMDS), and telecommunications
services including voice telephony and high speed Internet. Chorus provides
TV programme distribution services to [] customers, telephony services to
about [] customers, and data services to about [] customers.

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