FT and DT look to Brussels for UK merger examination

18 Dec 2009

The Financial Times is claiming that European telecoms giants France Telecom (FT) and Deutsche Telekom (DT) are pressing for regulators in Brussels, rather than the UK’s own telecoms regulator Ofcom, to examine the proposed merger of their British mobile units. It is thought that the two companies believe an enquiry by the European Commission (EC) would be shorter than one performed by Ofcom, lessening concerns that the two respective cellcos, Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, could find a lengthy examination period distracting.

Under existing regulations the initial study of the merger is in the hand of the EC, as more than two-thirds of the turnover of FT and DT comes from outside the UK. British consumer groups however have called for the local regulator to oversee the matter, with concerns having been raised about the merger, which if approved would create the country’s largest cellco by subscribers.

Both the French and German companies are believed to be preparing documentation regarding the proposed tie-up for submission to the EC, and both hope to submit the information before the holiday period begins.

United Kingdom, Deutsche Telekom (DT), EE, Ofcom, Orange Group, T-Mobile UK