European Union (EU) antitrust regulators have confirmed that a decision regarding Orange Group’s bid for alternative Spanish operator Jazz Telecom (Jazztel) will now be made by 30 April 2015, marginally later than an original deadline of 24 April.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in early December 2014 it was confirmed that the European Commission (EC) had decided to expand their investigation of the French group’s planned EUR3.4 billion (USD4.2 billion) acquisition of Jazztel. In a statement revealing the development, the European body highlighted the fact that with both Orange Espana and Jazztel operating fixed telecoms networks, the proposed transaction would reduce the number of nationwide providers of such services from four to three. As such, and despite it being noted that the merged entity ‘would not be in a dominant position’, the EC said it had concerns that the deal would lead to ‘a significant loss of competitive pressure for fixed internet access services and fixed-mobile multiple play offers’.
Subsequently, the EC halted its probe on 14 January 2014, at which date it reportedly sent a list of as many as 60 questions to Orange Group regarding the planned deal, saying these needed to be answered before it could continue to examine the matter. With the French outfit now having submitted its responses, the EC’s consideration of the planned acquisition can continue.