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Australian Treasurer approves Foxtel pay TV move

Australia Australia (ôstrāl`yə), smallest continent, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. With the island state of Tasmania to the south, the continent makes up the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary state (2005 est. pop.  approved a planned Aus$1.9 billion (US$1.9 billion) takeover by Murdoch-linked pay TV operator Foxtel of rival firm Austar Austar is an Australian telecommunications company. Its main business activity is Pay TV, although it is also involved with internet access and mobile phones. The company commenced operations in 1995, and thus celebrated its 10th birthday in 2005. , although it said competition concerns remained.

Treasurer Wayne Swan Wayne Maxwell Swan (born 30 June 1954), Australian politician, has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from March 1993 to March 1996 and again since October 1998, representing the Division of Lilley, Queensland.  on Friday said the bid by Foxtel, which is 50 percent owned by Telstra and 25 percent each by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and media investment firm Consolidated Media Holdings, met foreign investment rules.

But he said the deal had yet to be approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC ACCC Association of Canadian Community Colleges
ACCC Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
ACCC Association of Community Cancer Centers
ACCC Academic Computing and Communications Center
ACCC American College of Chiropractic Consultants
), which had previously raised concerns that the proposal would result in less competition in subscription television.

"In relation to Foxtel's proposal, the ACCC raised serious competition concerns in its statement of issues which it is still considering," Swan swan, common name for a large aquatic bird of both hemispheres, related to ducks and geese. It has a long, gracefully curved neck and an extremely long, convoluted trachea which makes possible its far-carrying calls.  said in a statement.

"I have therefore advised Foxtel that, while I have approved the proposal under the government's foreign investment policy and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 within the statutory timeframe, a satisfactory resolution of the competition issues raised by the ACCC is still required."

Foxtel is Australia's largest pay television provider with more than 1.63 million subscribing households in metropolitan Australia and in 2009-10 had revenue of Aus$2 billion.

Austar has more than 760,000 subscribers and has greater coverage in rural areas.

But the competition watchdog has said that as Foxtel and Austar are the only significant providers of pay television services in Australia, a merger would effectively create a near monopoly pay TV provider.

The ACCC is yet to make its final decision but in its preliminary view it said the proposed acquisition was likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in pay TV services.
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Author:Staff Reporter
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Dec 23, 2011
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