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Sky TV, Vodafone drop merger plan

NZN 25/06/2017 Tina Morrison

Sky Television and Vodafone New Zealand have cancelled their merger agreement and have withdrawn an appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the plan.

The pay-TV operator and telecommunications group announced the decision in a joint statement to the New Zealand stock exchange on Monday, without detailing their reasons.

The competition regulator had rejected the $3.44 billion media merger, which aimed to create the country's largest telecommunications and media group, saying the combined group would substantially lessen competition.

Sky and Vodafone filed an appeal against the commission's ruling in the High Court in March, to give them time to consider the regulator's reasoning against the decision, and last month amended their appeal to detail their arguments.

"Sky and Vodafone New Zealand will continue to work together to strengthen our commercial relationship for the benefit of the customers and the shareholders of our respective organisations," the companies said in a three-sentence statement.

Sky shares last traded at $3.39 and have shed 23 per cent over the past year.

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