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France: Watchdog fines Altice for “gun-jumping”

 |  November 8, 2016

France’s Competition Authority hit Altice with a fine of €80 million for “gun-jumping” practises, in relation to its 2014 acquisition of SFR and Virgin Mobile.

The decision comes after an investigation into whether the companies had begun to cooperate on commercial activities before securing regulatory approval for the deal.

Altice said in a statement it chose not to refute the claims, and accepted the settlement.

“The denounced practises, which aimed to make the new entity operational as soon as possible after obtaining clearance of the transaction, were performed in good faith, in the midst of legal uncertainty,” said Altice.

The French group said the settlement also demonstrated its eagerness “to restore constructive dialogue with the regulator”, with a focus on making future investments in 4G, content services and broadcast rights.

Altice further conceded that the fine, the first of its kind in France, “clarified the rules that the parties to a merger must observe between the signature of the agreement and the Competition Authority’s decision”.

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