Germany: State watchdog not too happy over Telefonica, E-Plus review

Germany’s competition regulator is speaking out against the merger of wireless giants Telefonica and E-Plus, under review by the European Commission, warning that the deal could harm competition and consumers, reports say.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office reportedly sent a letter to the European Commission last month, according to one source, in which the Commission was told that Spanish telco Telefonica did not offer sufficient concessions to appease competition concerns in Germany. The deal reduces the number of operators in the nation from four to three.

Reports say the Commission is close to approving the Germany transaction after Telefonica offered to divest up to 30 percent of its new spectrum for use by the nation’s three mobile virtual network operators. The Office remains unhappy with the offer, the source said.

If approved, it would be the second recent wireless merger to earn approval from EU authorities but gain disapproval from state officials. The Commission approved of an acquisition in Ireland by Hutchison Whampoa, but the deal was swiftly criticized in the country.

Full content: Wall Street Journal

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