EU extends investigation into Ziggo - Liberty Global merger

The European Commission (EC) has launched a more in-depth review of Liberty Global’s $6.8 billion take-over bid for Dutch cable operator Ziggo.

The probe was launched due to anti-competition concerns raised by the EC’s preliminary investigation into the deal. Regulators fear that the agreement, which combines two of the main providers of Internet, TV and fixed telephone services in the Netherlands, could impact competition.

Ziggo is the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, and Liberty already owns UPC, the second largest operator.

"The transaction could therefore reduce existing competition in the Dutch retail pay TV and telecommunications markets," said the EC.

“The removal of Ziggo as an autonomous player could increase the likelihood that the remaining competitors, in particular the merged entity and KPN, would coordinate their competitive behaviour and increase prices or delay investments.”

The EC is due to publish the results of its investigation on September 18.

Ziggo rejected a takeover bid from the cable company in October 2013, claiming its offer was too low. Talks for the acquisition were re-opened in December 2013, and finalised in January this year.

In March, the Dutch consumer and markets regulator, requested that it, rather than the EC should decide on the outcome of Liberty Global’s acquisition of cable operator Ziggo.

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