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Sky TV-Vodafone merger decision delayed

NZN 4/12/2016 Jonathan Underhill

Sky Network Television says the date for a decision on its application to merge with Vodafone New Zealand has been pushed back until February next year by the Commerce Commission.

It says the commission will now give its decision on February 23 instead of December 21, to give it more time to assess a large number of submissions.

Sky TV and Vodafone have agreed to the extension to allow for "the significant volume of material that the Commerce Commission needs to review in light of submissions from multiple third parties, and the commission's heavy workload in December", Sky TV said.

"The Commission continues to take an appropriately thorough approach to this transaction and Sky accepts the need for more time to complete its deliberations."

Sky TV's shares last traded at $4.66 and have gained 6.4 per cent this year.

In October, the commission said it wasn't satisfied the deal wouldn't substantially reduce competition, saying while consumers may benefit from cheap services at first, other broadband and mobile providers could lose the ability to build scale in their businesses and become weaker rivals.

Spark New Zealand and Two Degrees Mobile have formally opposed the merger, saying the deal would adversely impact consumers as a result of creating a company willing and able to use premium live sports content to stifle competition.

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