Telecoms Mergers under the EU Merger Regulation: A New Frame of Reference?

By Antonio Bavasso & Dominic Long –

The Commission has developed a rich decisional practice in response to a wave of consolidation in the telecoms sector. This gives rise to a number of interesting points on competition law and economics. In particular, a claim frequently made at the industry level is that, in the absence of in-market M&A consolidation, one or both of the parties to a merger would not be able to finance the investments necessary to remain competitive in an industry characterized by rapid technological changes and therefore would not be able to continue to deliver the benefits of innovation to end customers. This paper considers some of the key trends based on the Commission’s decisional practice in reviewing MNO consolidations under the EU Merger Regulation in light of the recent clearance in Hutchison 3G Italy/WIND.