UK Regulator To Review Liberty Global, Telefonica Deal

UK competition watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is set to take over the review of Liberty Global and Telefonica’s plan to merge their British businesses, with EU antitrust regulators ceding the case to them, according to Bloomberg.

The US cable operator and Spanish telecom provider want to better compete with market leader BT with the US$38 billion deal combining Virgin Media and O2.

They sought European Commission approval on Sept. 30 while CMA requested to take over the review on October 8 because of the deal’s impact in Britain and after Brexit.

The EU competition enforcer, which has a November 19 deadline for its preliminary scrutiny, declined to comment. It has, in the past, preferred to examine telecom cases rather than cede them to national watchdogs to maintain a harmonized policy across the 27-country bloc.

“We remain in constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders at the EU and CMA and continue to work to the timeline of completing the deal mid-next year,” the companies said in a joint statement.

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