EU to investigate Telefónica, KPN deal

EU to investigate Telefónica, KPN deal

EU antitrust regulators will begin investigating Telefónica’s proposed takeover of KPN’s German unit next week, Reuters reports.

Telefónica’s €8.55 billion bid for KPN’s E-Plus received approval from KPN shareholder, América Móvil’s Carlos Slim, in August this year, and Telefónica requested EU approval late last month.

Approval was initially expected on December 6, but this was extended to December 20 when Germany’s competition regulator, Bundeskartellamt, put forward a request to take over the case.

Sources close to the deal told Reuters that the Commission would reject this request and with the opening of the investigation set for next week, this looks to be the case.

“The Commission is expected to open an in-depth probe into the case next Friday,” sources confirmed.

Although the European telecoms industry is in need of consolidation, the Commission is reportedly wary that competition regulators will begin demanding concessions in order to maintain equality between fewer players in their markets – which could explain the Commission’s rejection of the Bundeskartellamt proposal.

Approval of Telefónica’s bid would reduce the number of mobile operators in Germany from four to three, placing Telefónica in strong competition with rival operators Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.

The EU investigation is expected to take 90 working days and can be extended by several weeks if required.

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