* EU approval on condition Liberty sells pay TV channel
* Liberty strengthens offer not to block over-the-top TV
* European Commission decision expected in October
(Adds Liberty Global comments, European Commission declines
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, Aug 28 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
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
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
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
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)