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EU Concerned Orange’s Belgian Deal May Hurt Competition

 |  July 28, 2022

EU antitrust regulators opened on Thursday a full-scale investigation into French telecoms provider Orange’s bid for a majority stake in Belgian peer VOO SA, warning that it may reduce competition in the southern region of Belgium.

The planned acquisition of 75% of VOO values the company at 1.8 billion euros ($1.8 billion) and is part of Orange’s strategy of offering “convergent offers” in both broadband and mobile to customers in all European countries.

The European Commission said the deal would cut the number of operators from three to two in the areas where the companies compete.

The deal may also reduce competition in the retail markets for fixed internet services, audio-visual services and multiple-play bundles (including fixed-mobile convergent services).

“With our in-depth investigation, we want to make sure that the acquisition of VOO/Brutele by Orange does not lead to higher prices or less quality for customers in Wallonia and parts of Brussels,” Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

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