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Portuguese Regulator Blocks Vodafone’s Acquisition of Nowo

 |  July 9, 2024

The Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC), Portugal’s Competition Authority, has blocked Vodafone’s planned acquisition of Nowo Communications. Vodafone had submitted remedies four times to address competition concerns, but the AdC concluded the takeover would harm market competition.

Vodafone announced its intent to acquire Nowo owner Cabonitel in September 2022. The deal aimed to strengthen Vodafone’s position against larger rivals Altice Portugal (MEO) and NOS. However, the AdC determined that Nowo plays a crucial role in maintaining competitive pressure on the market, which could be disrupted by the acquisition.

The AdC stated that the merger would lead to significant price increases and enhance Vodafone’s market power. Vodafone’s final remedy package included selling spectrum usage rights to Digi Portugal and offering Digi a wholesale deal on Vodafone’s fiber optic network. The AdC found these commitments inadequate, noting that Digi is already entering the Portuguese market independently later in 2024.

Read more: EU Approve Vodafone-CK Hutchison £19 Billion Merger in the UK

In contrast, Vodafone’s strategic moves in other markets have been more successful. Under CEO Margherita Della Valle, the company has sold its Spanish business, found a buyer for its Italian operations, improved its German business and agreed to a joint venture with Three in the U.K.

To address regulatory concerns over the Three merger, Vodafone has also agreed to sell spectrum to Virgin Media O2 if the merger proceeds.

Source: Fierce Network