The Competition Authority (CA) has ruled against the Ongoing/Vertix/Media Capital merger operation as a result of the negative and binding report issued by the Media Regulator, ERC.
The decision delivered by the CA today terminates a procedure that included the following successive stages:
It is to be stressed that, in the light of the binding nature of the advisory report requested of ERC, under Article 4 (2) of the Television Act / Law No. 32/2003 of 22 August, and the inability of the merger control proceedings instigated at the CA to advance in the absence of the report, the time limit for this Authority to reach a decision, provided for in Article 34 (1) of the Competition Act, remained suspended. This period ran, precisely, from the request for the report on 14 October 2009 to the reception of ERC’s final Advisory Report on the 10th February.
In view of the ERC Advisory Report findings and the fact that the public interest in safeguarding diversity and pluralism, as expressed by ERC in its report, determines that the projected operation cannot be implemented, irrespective of what the conclusion of the competition-law assessment would be, the Competition Authority has declared its opposition to the operation notified, to protect this asset of public interest. It acted under the powers conferred on it by Article 17 (1) b) of its statutes, approved by Decree-Law 10/2003 of 18 January, and on the basis of Article 107 of the CAP (Code of Administrative Procedure), in combination with Article 39 of the Competition Act and Article 4 (2) of Law No. 32/2003 of 22 August.