PARIS, April 2 (Reuters) - France’s competition regulator approved Vivendi’s acquisition of two broadcast television channels from tycoon Vincent Bollore in 2012 after a second review, adding reinforced conditions on the acquisition of French film rights.
Vivendi’s Canal+ pay-television unit agreed to buy the Direct 8 and Direct Star channels for around 279 million euros ($385 million) in Vivendi shares in late 2011.
The competition regulator approved the deal with conditions in September 2012, but the decision was challenged by broadcast TV rivals TF1 and M6, and the approval was later rescinded by France’s highest administrative court.
That prompted Vivendi to re-apply for approval of the deal, adding more clauses to address its rivals’ concerns over its weight in the market to purchase television rights to French movies.
In Wednesday’s ruling, the regulator said Canal+ had agreed to a new condition not to buy pay-TV and free-to-air rights for more than 20 new French films per year and to focus the majority of its buying on “middle-budget” films.
The other conditions that were included in the original deal approval remain in force, the regulator said, adding that all of the clauses ran through July 23, 2017.
“The competition regulator will scrupulously monitor whether these engagements are kept,” it said. ($1 = 0.7249 Euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by James Regan)