Spain's Antena 3 acquires rival broadcaster La Sexta


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In December 2011, Spanish terrestrial television channel Antena 3 announced that they had planned to acquire a rival broadcaster, La Sexta. In April 2012, the deal was passed by Antena 3's shareholders and was submitted for authorization to the Telecoms regulator and the Spanish Competition Commission (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, CNC).

The CNC authorized the acquisition last week, giving Antena 3 a 42% share of TV advertising investment in the country. Antena 3 has rejected the terms of the acquisition laid down by the CNC (outlined below) and has said it will fight these in court. On the other hand, the Spanish Advertiser Association (Asociación Española de Anunciantes, AEA) remains concerned by the fact that approximately 85% of the sector is now operated by two organizations (Antena 3 and Mediaset). It has highlighted that more conditions must be placed on the acquisition to ensure the audiovisual sector remains competitive and sustainable, and does not become a duopoly.

Some of the conditions laid out by the CNC for Antenna 3/La Sexta are:

1. Limiting TV advertising
- They must sell inventory on their two television channels through different companies.
- They may not offer advertising space on simulcast unless the advertiser has expressly requested it in writing.
- They cannot agree deals with agencies or advertisers which guarantee a minimum rate of investment or GRPs.
- Their negotiations must abide by minimum principles of transparency, objectivity, predictability and legality.

2. Limiting the open market
- They can't increase their market share by bundling their offer of DTTV channels with that of other operators.
- They can't try and stop improvements in the quality of DTTV channels.

3. Providing proof of accountability
- Antena 3/La Sexta's compliance with these limitations must be monitored. Therefore, Antena3/La Sexta need to supply regular information on their activities in the affected markets.

4. Time limit conditions
These obligations are set for a fixed term of five years.

For more information on the acquisition and potential effects on advertisers, please contact the AEA at: or visit

This acquisition will be discussed further at the next two Media Committee meetings to be held on October 3rd in New York and November 28th in Brussels respectively. For more information, please contact Minakshi Pai at:

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