Virgin Media supports O2-Three merger

08 February 2016 |

Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge has backed Hutchison’s £10.25 billion proposed merger with O2.

Mockridge believes that competition concerns can be addressed without blocking the deal. “‎Any competition concerns can be addressed without blocking the proposed O2-Three transaction,” he said. “The Commission has previously cleared mobile mergers which resulted in a reduction in the number of mobile operators from four to three, subject to wholesale remedies.

He added that in two of these cases – Austria and Ireland – Virgin Media’s parent company Liberty Global was able to provide “vigorous competition and consumer choice” as a result of taking EU remedies. 

“The same can be true in the UK. A combined O2-Three could have more to offer consumers and, crucially, more capacity for other providers who want to drive competition in their own right. With the right remedies, this deal could stimulate not curb competition,” Mockridge maintained. 

Virgin Media’s backing of the O2-Three merger follows Sky's announcement of its support of the deal in January, saying it would be beneficial for the country’s market. 

“We do think that Three’s ownership would be a good thing for all MVNOs sitting on the network in the sense of continued investment in that network,” said Mai Fyfield, Sky’s chief strategy officer. 

“It’s important that it’s a good network. And I think under Three’s ownership we would me more confident that the direction of O2 would be clear. If it’s blocked there is going to be a question over what happened to Telefonica. They don’t look like they are interested in being a long term owner.”