Australian regulators on Wednesday, May 8, blocked the multi-billion-dollar merger between Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG Telecom, reported The Financial Times.
The two firms announced in August a deal to form a AU$15 billion (US$10.5 billion) unit to take on Telstra and Optus in an increasingly competitive telecoms sector. But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the merger “will reduce competition and contestability”.
The ruling is the second setback for Vodafone in the region after a NZ$2.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) merger with Sky in New Zealand was blocked by regulators in 2017. The UK telecoms company has been unwinding its global empire by merging or selling off local networks while investing in cable assets in Europe. It has struggled to get deals away in Australasia, however.
The ACCC did not give reasons why it had blocked the AU$15 billion (US$10.5 billion) combination of TPG and Vodafone Hutchison Australia after it was forced to rush out a statement, admitting that it “inadvertently published online.” However, the watchdog stated the proposed merger would have reduced competition in the sector as it would preclude TPG from entering as the nation’s fourth mobile operator.