Watchdog approves News Corp investment in Eredivisie’s media arm

03 Dec 2012

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has given the green light to Fox International Channels’ (FIC) acquisition of a 51% stake in Eredivisie Media and Marketing (EMM), the media and commercial arm of the country’s top league.

The initial deal between EMM and the broadcast subsidiary of News Corporation was struck in August for a reported Eur1 billion. EMM owns media rights to the Eredivisie and controls the Eredivisie Live pay-television channel. Fox will pay the Eur1 billion over the 12 years encompassing the 2013-14 to 2024-25 Dutch football seasons, with NMa board member Henk Don stating the deal guarantees a payment of Eur80 million a year to clubs in the Eredivisie through 2025. EMM was established in 2008 through a partnership between the Eredivisie clubs and media and production company Endemol.

“We are pleased that the approval of the NMa is a fact and cooperation between EMM and FIC really can start,” said Alex Tielbeke, director of EMM. “The agreement represents a strong injection for Dutch football, which is good news for the clubs but also for the fans. The local and international experience of Fox will combine with that of our own TV station, giving the fans a high quality operation and enabling Eredivisie Live to continue to build.”

The agreement will see Raymond van der Vliet, managing director of FIC in the Benelux region, join the management of EMM. He added: “Together we will first examine the optimal exploitation of all possible media rights of Eredivisie clubs to give football fans an even better experience. We have a healthy ambition and will also explore the creation of an additional TV channel. We are looking forward to making a positive contribution to the exciting and attractive Eredivisie in the Netherlands.”