UPDATE 1-Liberty Global to win conditional EU approval for Ziggo buy - sources

Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:50am EDT

* EU approval on condition Liberty sells pay TV channel Film1

* Liberty strengthens offer not to block over-the-top TV providers

* European Commission decision expected in October (Adds Liberty Global comments, European Commission declines comment, details)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, Aug 28 (Reuters) - U.S. cable TV provider Liberty Global will gain EU antitrust approval to acquire Ziggo on condition it sells a pay TV channel and doesn't block rivals from its internet network, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

This would be the fourth clearance of a major telecoms deal by the European Commission, after Telefonica's two transactions in Germany and Ireland, and Vodafone's cable purchase in Spain in recent months.

Liberty Global, controlled by billionaire John Malone, earlier this month strengthened an offer not to block so-called over-the-top TV service providers such as Netflix from accessing its Internet network for four years, another source said.

The source declined to provide details. Over-the-top companies deliver programming over the Internet and are fast gaining popularity at the expense of live TV viewing.

Liberty Global, which makes 90 percent of its revenue in Europe, also proposed to sell its pay TV channel Film1 while keeping Ziggo's HBO channel, the source said.

"It is going to be conditional clearance," said one of the people, who declined to be named because the decision is not yet public.

Liberty Global's concessions came after the EU competition authority said the deal may reduce competition in the Netherlands and result in higher consumer prices. The two Telefonica deals were cleared with conditions unlike the Vodafone acquisition.

Commission spokesman for competition policy Antoine Colombani declined comment.

Liberty Global spokesman Bert Holtkamp said: "There are very constructive discussions with the Commission. We remain confident that the deal will be closed before the end of this year."

The Commission, which has set a Nov. 3 deadline for its decision, is expected to announce its decision in October, said one of the people. The deal values Ziggo and its debt at around 10 billion euros ($13.2 billion).

($1 = 0.7591 Euros) (Editing by Barbara Lewis and David Holmes)

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