BSkyB-soccer deal delayed



European competition regulators in Brussels have put BSkyB's deal with the UK Premiership under close scrutiny. The E1.63 billion transaction might not be approved if the European Commission finds that Sky was the only bidder for the media rights, the Financial Times reported. The regulator asked for clarification on how many offers there were for each of the rights packages. BSkyB is believed to have been the only bidder for three of the four live rights packages. Only ITV registered an interest in one of the four live packages on offer whilst the BBC, Channel 4 and Five all decided not to bid for the Premier League's live coverage. The Commission wanted the rights to be broken into smaller packages to encourage more bidders, but the packages, according to some broadcasters, were still too big for them to manage a bid
"We wanted the rights to be broken up into smaller packages so they would be attractive to more than one bidder," a spokesman for Mario Monti, competition commissioner said. "If these packages were too big for more than one bidder, then our concerns would not have been met."

In addition, several major ISPs and portals, including AOL, NTL and MSN have reportedly complained to EU regulators that the broadband package is unfair as it only covers two-thirds of Premiership games and is not exclusive - any games shown as part of the package will already have been broadcast on TV. Regulators are insisting that the broadband and mobile rights deal needs to be fair, not anti-competitive.