EC approves BC Partners’ United Group takeover

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of United Group, an Eastern European media and telecommunications company, by private equity firm BC Partners.

The commission said that BC Partners’ controlling shareholding in satellite operator Intelsat did not raise any competition concerns, according to Telecompaper.

United Group offers cable-television, telecommunications and broadband services in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia via the SBB, Telemach and Total TV brands.

United Group also operates a number of pay-television platforms across Eastern Europe, including the Sportklub channels, and has a significant presence in the region’s sports broadcasting landscape.

Most recent

Social media giant Facebook’s challenges around its Copa Libertadores coverage in Latin America have convinced it that non-exclusive rights models form “one of the best ways” of breaking into markets where entrenched viewing habits restrict the potential for exclusive rights to grow engagement with the platform.

The Football Association rejected a higher bid for domestic FA Cup rights for the 2021-25 cycle from incumbent pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in favour of commercial broadcaster ITV, SportBusiness Media understands, in a move that took the competition exclusively free to air in the UK.

Spanish football’s LaLiga extended its rights deal in China with Wuhan DDMC Culture in May without going to market, where it would have faced a tough task maintaining its income, SportBusiness Media understands. The Chinese rights market has cooled since the previous deal was agreed, and DDMC is thought to be paying the league a strong rights fee.

South African pay-television operator Multichoice is facing the biggest challenge in its 26-year history in the form of a two-pronged regulatory attack on its dominant position in the country’s sports-rights market.