Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram have filed their planned merger for European Commission (EC) approval, an EC spokesperson confirmed today.

The EC has until August 21 to clear the deal or launch an in-depth four-month investigation.

The EC previously insisted that it has exclusive powers to review the merger, in response to a statement by France's broadcast regulator the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) that it also intends to investigate the deal (Screendaily, July 10). However the CSA can rule on parts of the merger that affect its interests.

The CSA is concerned by two aspects of the deal; first whether the restructured Canal Plus, which will be only 49% owned by Vivendi Universal, really conforms with French law banning majority ownership of broadcasters, and second, whether it breaks French laws that prevent a broadcaster being more than 20% owned by foreign interests. The CSA was scheduled to examine the deal today (July 19).