EU: Commission fines Altice US$153m for closing PT Portugal deal early

The European Commission said on Tuesday, April 24, it had fined French telecoms group Altice €125 million (US$153 million) for closing its 2015 takeover of PT Portugal before it had gained regulatory approval.

The European antitrust enforcer said such gun jumping practices undermine its system for scrutinizing mergers. The sanction does not affect its approval of the deal.

The bloc’s rules require that companies do not implement a takeover before they receive approval, to ensure the authorities can correctly assess how the proposed deal will change competition and also to prevent “potentially irreparable” harm to the relevant markets. Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, said:

“Companies that jump the gun and implement mergers before notification or clearance undermine the effectiveness of our merger control system. This is the system that protects European consumers from any merger that would lead to higher prices or reduced choice. The fine imposed by the commission on Altice today reflects the seriousness of the infringement and should deter other firms from breaking EU merger control rules.”

Full Content: Financial Times

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