European Fee refers Virgin Media–O2 merger to the CMA

The European Fee has referred a proposed merger between Virgin Media and O2 to the Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA).

Virgin Media and O2 confirmed their intention to merge again in Might. Naturally, the £31 billion deal is being scrutinised by regulators.

The CMA formally requested the case be transferred on October eighth, shortly after the European Fee launched its investigation. Immediately, the European Fee accepted that request.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Government on the CMA, mentioned:

“We welcome the European Fee’s determination to switch the proposed deal between Virgin and O2 to the CMA for investigation.

These are extremely necessary UK markets, that proceed to evolve, and the deal must be rigorously reviewed to ensure that shoppers are protected.

We’ve labored intently with the European Fee up to now and we’ll construct on the work that has already been carried out to ensure that the case might be investigated as rapidly and effectively as attainable.”

Virgin Media and O2 have referred to as for the CMA to conclude its investigation as rapidly as attainable by placing it by way of its fast-track course of.

The fast-track course of would transfer the investigation straight into ‘Phase 2’ the place an in depth investigation is carried out. ‘Phase 1’ merely determines whether or not additional scrutiny is required or if a deal might be cleared or refused from the onset.

Merging firms, particularly ones the scale of the Virgin Media and O2, can request to maneuver straight into Part 2 in circumstances the place it’s clear an in-depth investigation shall be required.

The CMA says it expects to grant the fast-track request. The regulator has referred to as for views on how the merger may affect competitors to be submitted by 26th November however additional alternatives shall be obtainable through the Part 2 investigation.

Again in 2015, O2 and Three UK agreed to a merger—however the EU Fee blocked the deal over competitors fears. The Virgin Media-O2 deal isn’t anticipated to face the identical issues as a result of it wouldn’t depart simply three cellular networks out there.

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