Vodafone Malta and local multi-play cable and cellular operator Melita have announced that they plan to merge, reducing the country’s mobile market from three players down to two. A statement from Vodafone says that the combined company’s mobile and enterprise business will operate under the Vodafone brand, though it does not confirm whether or not the Melita name will be retained for the consumer cable TV and broadband business. The enlarged firm will be 51% owned by Melita’s shareholders, Apax Partners and Fortino Capital, while Vodafone Europe – a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Vodafone Group – will hold the remaining 49%. CommsUpdate reported in March this year that Apax was thought to be pushing for a merger between the two telcos.
The deal, which values Vodafone Malta at EUR208 million (USD234 million) and Melita at EUR298 million, must be cleared by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA), though Vodafone say it is hopeful that it can be completed before the end of 2017. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Vodafone and Melita currently control around 62% of Malta’s mobile market between them, with the remainder taken by the island’s other main multi-play operator, GO. The broadband market is split almost evenly between GO and Melita.