Australia's largest pay-TV firm Foxtel has had its AUS$2 billion takeover of smaller regional rival Austar approved by the competition watchdog.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had voiced concerns the merger would destroy pay-TV competition by merging the two main providers, Austar and Foxtel, which is owned by Telstra Corp, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings.
The ACCC said Foxtel would be prevented from buying exclusive internet TV rights for a range of television and movie content, including Nickelodeon and National Geographic channels.
"By reducing content exclusivity, the undertakings will lower barriers to entry and promote new and effective competition in metropolitan and regional telecommunications and subscription television markets," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
The conditions also prevent Foxtel from acquiring exclusive mobile rights to specified content where competitors also want to deliver the programming across mobile devices.
Austar shareholders voted last month to approve the deal. The final stage of the process will be a Federal Court hearing scheduled for Friday.