February 15, 2017 / 8:40 PM / in 5 months

Sky rejects Spark request to hold off on Vodafone NZ takeover

2 Min Read

Branding for Vodafone is seen on the exterior of a shop in London, Britain, September 10, 2015.Toby Melville

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Sky Network Television (SKT.NZ) said if it gets regulatory clearance to buy Vodafone's (VOD.L) New Zealand unit it will not hold off on the deal to give rival Spark NZ (SPK.NZ) time to challenge the regulator's decision in court, as requested.

Sky, in a statement to the stock exchange on Thursday, said a number of parties including Spark and Trustpower (TPW.NZ) had sent it a letter asking it to hold off on the transaction if the Commerce Commission ruled in its favour so that they could initiate court proceedings.

The Commerce Commission is due to rule on the proposed NZ$1.3 billion ($938 million) takeover on Feb. 23 and has previously cited concern the deal would dampen competition from rival broadband and mobile providers.

Spark has been vocal in its opposition to the deal, saying that Sky's monopoly on premium sports content rights in New Zealand is a key concern.

Spark had said in the letter to Sky that it would seek an interim stay from the courts if Sky did not provide assurances that it would hold off on the deal.

"Sky does not consider that there is any proper basis for seeking an interim stay from the court," Sky said in its statement, adding that it would oppose any interim stay application and request damages.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Susan Fenton

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