Today marks the deadline for Spain's Sogecable and Telefonica to accept or decline the 34 conditions placed by the Spanish government on the merger of their pay TV platforms Canal Satelite Digital and Via Digital.

While there were rumours that the partners might delay their decision by a week, all other indicators yesterday pointed to their likely fulfilment of the Jan 29 deadline for submitting a business plan to structure the new platform and carry out the conditions.

Spain's Science and Technology Minister, Josep Pique, said Tuesday that the government expected the companies to accept the conditions while retaining the right to appeal against any of them.

Of the 34 conditions stipulated in November, more than a dozen concern rights to cinema and thematic channels and another ten deal with rights to football matches.

According to the terms of the May 8 merger agreement, Via Digital backer Telefonica will buy into CSD backer Sogecable and become an equal shareholder in Sogecable alongside Spanish media and publishing giant Grupo Prisa and Canal Plus France.