UK: Rivals fuming as BT’s £12.5bn mega-merger is approved

BT won a decisive victory in the battle to force its way into the mobile phone market as its £12.5bn mega-merger with EE was waved through by the competition watchdog.

Rivals were furious with the decision, having pushed hard for parts of BT to be sold off if the deal was to go ahead.

The Competition and Markets Authority said BT could keep its portfolio of businesses, as the deal was “not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market in the UK”. BT shares jumped nearly 4 per cent to 468.65p on the news.

Vodafone and TalkTalk said they were “disappointed” and “concerned” with the ruling, in particular that BT was not forced to sell Openreach, which leases fixed phone lines to the mobile operators.

The CMA pointed out that its role was to make sure customers were not affected by a lessening of competition. It said: “We have… been mindful that the role of the CMA in merger cases is to protect competition for the benefit of consumers, not the commercial interests of competitors.”

Full content: The Times

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