The European Commission (EC) has waved through the three-way merger between Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram, after Vivendi agreed to sell its 20% stake in BSkyB and guaranteed that Canal Plus' pay-TV competitors will have access to Universal's film product.
The concessions save the merger, first unveiled in June, from a four-month "phase 2" investigation by the EC.
Vivendi was already in talks with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp about exchanging its BSkyB holding for a small stake in Murdoch's global satellite platform, Sky Global Networks. Speaking at a press conference in Paris on Friday afternoon, Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier said he had agreed to sell the stake within two years, and that the sale could be carried out in a number of ways, either on or off the stock market.
Vivendi has also agreed to give up 50% of pay-TV rights to Universal film product over a period of five years, in territories where Canal Plus operates, including France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the Nordic countries.
The French utilities and media giant also gave assurances that its multi-access internet portal, Vizzavi, won't discriminate in favour of Universal Music for a period of five years.
The three parties will now hold shareholder meetings, expected within 40 days, to vote on the deal.