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UK: Regulator wrestles with Brussels over Three-O2 mega merger

 |  October 4, 2015

Hutchison, the owner of Three, agreed in March to purchase O2 from Telefonica for around £10 billion.

However, the UK-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now made a request to the European Commission to refer Hutchison’s proposed acquisition to it for investigation.

In a release on Friday, the CMA said its initial view is that “the transaction threatens to affect significantly competition in the UK retail mobile and wholesale mobile markets”.

It also believes the case should be referred to the CMA “because any impact on competition resulting from the merger will likely be limited to UK consumers” and because it was already investigating the £12.5 billion BT-EE merger.

“Given the clear links between these two cases, it would be more efficient to also examine the merger between Three and O2, in particular to avoid duplication and fragmentation,” it said.

“The CMA also received support from industry participants in making the request.”

The EC must make a decision on whether to refer the case by October 30.

Full content: BBC News

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