WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand pay television provider Sky Network TV on Monday said it was terminating a sales agreement to buy Vodafone’s local unit, a deal the country’s competition regulator had ruled against.
The two companies had been fighting the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s decision to block the proposed NZ$1.3 billion ($946.40 million) deal in February, but said in a joint statement to the New Zealand stock exchange that they were also dropping their High Court appeal.
“SKY and Vodafone New Zealand will continue to work together to strengthen our commercial relationship for the benefit of the customers and the shareholders of our respective organisations,” the firms said in the statement.
The regulator in February had rejected the transaction, citing concerns it would create a monopoly on premium sports content, though the firms filed a detailed appeal with the courts challenging that decision in May.
Sky’s chief executive John Fellett told Reuters in an interview after the Commerce Commission’s decision that he thought an appeal would take around a year, which some commentators pointed out could distract the firms from their core business for a long period.
($1 = 1.3736 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Dan Grebler and Andrew Hay)