EU investigates Liberty Global and Base merger

EU investigates Liberty Global and Base merger

The European Commission (EC) has launched an investigation into Liberty Global’s proposed acquisition of Base to assess if it could be harmful to the Belgian market.

Liberty Global’s Belgian subsidiary Telenet agreed to purchase local mobile network operator Base from Dutch group KPN for $1.43 billion in April 2015. 

The EC expressed concerns that the proposed deal could result in less choices, fewer innovative services and higher prices for consumers in Belgium.

In addition the regulatory body said that the combined entity would have limited incentives to exercise competitive pressure on the two remaining competitors in the market, Proximus and Mobistar.  

The deal will also significantly reduce the incentives for Base to offer virtual operators access to its mobile network, leading to worsening conditions for MVNO operators, it added. The third-largest mobile operator in Belgium, KPN-owned Base has 3.3 million mobile subscribers and an adjusted revenue of €690 million for 2014.

A Liberty Global spokesman said the company remains confident that that proposed deal will be cleared. 

The EC has until February 18 2016 to investigate the proposed acquisition as well as request concessions from both companies. Liberty Global had reportedly submitted concessions to the EC in September 2015, although no further details were revealed. 

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