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EC Looks Deeper Into 3-Way Merger

Europe: Commission asks Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram for more data on their proposed deal.

August 10, 2000|From Reuters

BRUSSELS — Merging media giants Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram will have to wait for regulatory scrutiny of their deal after the European Commission said on Wednesday that it needed more data for its review.

The commission said it had suspended its probe into the competition aspects of the planned $34-billion deal while the companies provide it with additional unspecified data.

Vivendi and Canal Plus said they remain confident that the European Union's competition authority will rule in favor of their tie-up with Seagram before the end of September.

"Following the issues raised by the commission [Wednesday], a complementary filing could be expected at the end of August and could hopefully lead to a final decision before the end of September," Vivendi said in a statement.

The news comes as the European Commission is already subjecting the rival merger of America Online and Time Warner to an in-depth four-month competition probe, a signal of its concern at the implications of the mega-mergers that are reshaping the media industry.

The commission was originally due to decide whether to clear the Vivendi-Canal Plus-Seagram deal by Aug. 21 or send it for an extended four-month probe.

Once it has received the extra information, it will launch a new one-month review beginning then, a spokeswoman said.

"The notification is not complete. We will wait until the companies send the missing information and start the clock again," said spokeswoman Amelia Torres.

Neither Vivendi nor the commission would give further details about the exact information required by the Brussels-based administrative body.

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