ITC approves NTL-C&W deal

ITC finds that proposed merger would not operate against interest of viewers by limiting the competition for pay-TV services

An ITC report has found that the proposed acquisition of the consumer division of Cable & Wireless by NTL will not damage competition in the retail pay-TV market.

The report is a response to the Competition Commission's invitation for representations on the matter form the industry. Last month Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers referred the deal to the Commission over concerns that it could damage competition in the emerging cable market.

However the ITC found that the proposed merger would not operate against the interest of viewers by limiting the competition for pay-TV services. The report concluded that the deal would be more likely to act in consumers' interests by providing stronger competition to BskyB and other operators in bidding for exclusive programming rights to sport and films.