The European Commission announced Wednesday it has approved of Hutchison Whampoa’s $1 billion acquisition of O2 Ireland, reports say.
While the Commission’s clearance was expected, reports said what was uncertain were the concessions regulators would require form the Hong Kong conglomerate. With the deal cleared, Hutchison will be required to divest 30 percent of its network capacity following the merger to two mobile virtual network operators.
Earlier reports suggested Hutchison would be required to boost cable operator UPC to a full-scale wireless operator. But the latest reports say one of those MNVOs will have the option of becoming its own independent rival in the market.
Further, Hutchison will be required to sell five blocks of various spectrum to those MNVOs. The concessions are intended to preserve competition in the four-player industry; the company will continue to face significant competition by market leader Vodafone, reports say.
Irish communications regulators are concerned that the concessions imposed are inadequate, however.
Communications authority Comreg reportedly responded to the Commission’s clearance of the transaction with a notice raiding concern that “significant negative consequences for Irish consumer welfare may result.” Comreg added that it considers the concessions “inadequate and ineffective.”
Full content: Reuters and Irish Times
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