The European Commission (EC) has cleared the proposed acquisition of Telecom Italia’s German broadband unit HanseNet by Telefonica O2 Deutschland, an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of Spanish telecoms group Telefonica. The EC concluded that the takeover would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. In a statement, the EC announced it has ‘examined the effects of the proposed transaction on the provision of broadband internet access as well as on mobile and fixed telephony,’ adding that in view of their different business focuses, the two operators are not major competitors to each other in any of the relevant markets. ‘Moreover, both the horizontal and the vertical relationships between the activities of HanseNet and Telefonica in Germany are limited and the combined firm would continue to face a number of strong, effective competitors, including the incumbent operator Deutsche Telekom,’ the statement continued. As reported by CommsUpdate, Telecom Italia signed a final agreement to sell its German broadband unit to Telefonica for EUR900 million (USD1.34 billion) in December 2009, after agreeing to sell it to the Spanish company the month earlier. According to Telefonica, this will make Telefonica O2 Germany the third largest player in the market in terms of revenue, generating potential annual turnover of almost EUR5 billion, with 15 million mobile and 2.4 million DSL customers.