EU Says Unlikely to Probe Kirch Buying into EM.TV

German media giant Kirch's acquisition of a stake in EM.TV is unlikely to fall under a European Commission merger review, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

EU Says Unlikely to Probe Kirch Buying into EM.TV

German media giant Kirch's acquisition of a stake in EM.TV is unlikely to fall under a European Commission merger review, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

It is also unlikely to have an impact on the Commission's continuing dispute with the organisers of Formula One motor racing, in which the companies hold a stake through SLEC, the Commission said.

"There have been no contacts between the companies and the Commission on this deal," the spokeswoman told reporters.

"At first sight, this doesn't look like a case with a Community (EU) dimension," she said.

But the Commission would look at the deal under its market competition rules if a rival company made a formal complaint, she added.

The comments follow press reports that the Commission, the European Union's competition watchdog, might oppose Kirch's stake in SLEC as this would give the firm too much control over Formula One broadcasting rights.

Privately-held German media giant Kirch stepped in to prop up EM.TV on Monday by taking a minority stake and buying almost half of the company's 50 percent stake in Formula One holding SLEC for $550 million.

The Commission is still talking to both motor racing's governing body the FIA and the companies holding the commercial rights to Formula One in an effort to find a solution to their long-running dispute.

The Commission alleges that the FIA and the firms controlled by impresario Bernie Ecclestone have illegal powers to stifle competition.

Earlier this year the Commission said it had received "innovative and constructive" proposals from the FIA, but negotiations continue.

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