Italian court suspends Serie A broadcasting bid

MILAN – Mediapro’s bid for Serie A TV rights has been suspended after their billion-euro deal was found to violate anti-trust rules and wasn’t properly formulated, a Milan court confirmed. The decision follows the precautionary suspension last month of the Spanish company’s tender, requested by current broadcasters, Sky Italia.

 The Italian judge, Claudio Marangoni, said that Mediapro held a clear monopoly on the football rights market and should have conformed to Italian Antitrust rules.

 Marangoni highlighted Mediapro’s “abuse of a dominant position,” pointing towards pre-packaged deals containing “information and advertising content,” which would drastically affect ‘downstream operators’ who would be forced to purchase accessory packages.

 Italy’s top football league, Serie A, had accepted Mediapro’s 1.05 billion euro offer in February, earning them the rights to broadcast around 400 matches across the 2018-2021 seasons. Mediapro was reportedly the only company to meet Serie A’s one million euro benchmark, after Sky Italia and Mediaset’s combined offer fell short of the league’s valuation.

 Sky Italia had appealed for the Italian court to verify whether the Spanish company’s bid respected Italian laws.

 They responded to the court’s announcement, stressing that the court’s decision validated their appeal and confirmed the necessity to investigate Mediapro’s bid.

 Sky added that they are “ready, like always, to do our bit with an important offer, which can give assurances to every fan and, at the same time, safeguard the future of clubs and the entire system.”

 Mediapro now have 15 days to appeal the ruling as they mull over whether to pursue the purchase, but are yet to comment on the company’s next steps.