UK-based telecoms giant Vodafone Group is reportedly set to secure antitrust approval from the European authorities for its USD23 billion bid for Liberty Global’s operations in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic.
According to Reuters, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter, approval for the deal is expected in the wake of Vodafone offering concessions last month. With concerns having previously been raised by the EU about the impact on competition in Germany and the Czech Republic, Vodafone is understood to have offered to strengthen rival Telefonica Deutschland by giving it access to its merged high speed broadband network. The UK’s firms proposal would allow Telefonica Deutschland to offer superfast services over infrastructure belonging to both Vodafone Germany and Liberty Global’s German subsidiary, Unitymedia. Smaller rivals have, however, reportedly criticised the concessions as insufficient, raising the possibility of a legal challenge to the EU decision.
With the EC required to make a decision on the matter by 23 July, confirmation of its approval is yet to be forthcoming, however, with Reuters noting that both the Commission and Liberty Global declined to comment on the matter, while Vodafone Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.