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Italy’s AGCN investigates Sky Italia

Watchdog group probes TV company

MILAN — Italy’s competition watchdog is investigating Sky Italia on charges that it has abused its dominant position in the country’s satellite TV market.

The Authority Guaranteeing Competition in the Marketplace (AGCM) said in a statement over the weekend that it was acting on an official complaint from Conto TV, a new player in the Italo satellite and Internet TV market.

According to Conto TV, “The conditions imposed on Conto by Sky for the purchase of services needed to reach the right technical level were not made transparent and did not reflect the actual cost to Sky.”

The biggest gripe concerned the “particularly inflated price” of the soccer product it bought from the Italo branch of the Murdoch TV empire.

The AGCM’s Antonio Catricala was reported in La Repubblica newspaper as saying such behavior “would constitute anticompetitive behavior designed to compromise Conto TV’s competitive ability.”

No one at Sky Italia was available to comment Sunday.

The investigation, to be carried out in conjunction with the Italian finance ministry’s Guardia di Finanza police, is due to conclude by Dec. 31, 2009.