March 5, 2020 / 5:50 PM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Italian court lifts Sky restrictions over Mediaset pay-TV deal

(Add details, context, Sky comments)

MILAN/ROME, March 5 (Reuters) - An Italian administrative court has lifted antitrust restrictions preventing Italy’s top pay-TV player Sky from buying exclusive content for its online platform, a court document showed on Thursday.

The ruling could be a boost for Sky, owned by U.S. media giant Comcast, as it looks to head off increasing competition from streaming services like Netflix and digital sports firm DAZN.

Last year, Italy’s competition watchdog imposed a three-year ban preventing Sky’s Italian business from buying exclusive content on its online video-streaming service platform, including lucrative soccer broadcasting rights.

The antitrust decision came after a deal between Sky Italia and Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset in the pay TV segment, which the regulator said would irreparably limit competition in a market where Sky is already a dominant player.

Sky Italia CEO Maximo Ibarra said in a statement the company was satisfied with the court decision.

The ruling can be appealed by the antitrust.

Reporting by Domenico Lusi, Elvira Pollina; editing by James Mackenzie and Elaine Hardcastle

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