Vodafone is set to take possession of a string of Liberty Global’s telecoms assets in Germany, The Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary
The European Commission has launched an investigation into Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of Liberty Global’s European assets, amid concerns that the move could reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic.
Vodafone intends to acquire a string of assets from Liberty Global across Eastern and Central Europe, in a deal worth around €18 billion.
"It’s important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services. Our in-depth investigation aims to ensure that Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s telecommunications businesses in Czechia [Czech Republic], Germany, Hungary and Romania will not lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation in telecoms and TV services for consumers," said EC commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
The European Commission expressed concerns that the proposed merger could stifle competition in Germany and the Czech Republic.
In the Czech market, the Commission said that it was concerned that "providers of standalone telecommunications services could be shut out from the retail market for mobile telecommunications services, Internet access services and TV services," if the acquisition was to go ahead.
In Germany, the Commission said that the merger could reduce competition in areas where Vodafone and UnityMedia (Liberty Global’s subsidiary in Germany) currently compete.
The proposed merger would also involve the acquisition of assets in Romania and Hungary. As yet, the Commission says that it has not identified any potential problems in these markets.
The investigation is expected to last 90 working days, with the Commission set to announce its decision on the 2nd May 2019.
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