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EU: Austria warns EC over missed opportunity in major telco merger

 |  February 25, 2014

The head of Austria’s competition regulator is reportedly warning the European Commission over telecommunication merger reviews following a missed opportunity for the Commission to prevent a recent Hutchinson Whampoa buyout that lead to price hikes.

Reports say Hutchinson’s buyout of Orange Austria lead regulators to impose concessions on the deal to ease competition concerns over the merger that lead to a reduction in Austrian competitors from four players to three. But according to reports, prices spiked anyway.

Now, Austrian regulators are hoping the Commission learns from that experience as Hutchinson and Telefonica are probed by the EU for similar acquisitions.

”For the future, and this concerns Ireland and Germany, one is will advices to look carefully at Austria’s experience,” Theodor Thanner, Director General of the Austrian Competition Authority, told reporters Monday.

Hutchinson is looking to acquire O2 Ireland and was set to meet with EU regulators on Tuesday to discuss the deal.

Similarly, Telefonica’s German operations made a deal to acquire Royal KPN’s E-Plus in an $11.8 billion deal, one that reports say may soon receive a objections by authorities.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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