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Vodafone Hungary takeover excluded from competition regulation by decree

11 Jan 2023

The recently announced takeover of Vodafone Hungary by Hungarian telecoms and IT group 4iG has been exempted from anti-competition scrutiny by a decree published late on Monday, Reuters reported. In the decree, the government said 4iG’s acquisition of mobile and fixed network operator Vodafone served the country’s ‘security of telecoms services supply’ and therefore qualified as a deal of ‘national strategic significance’. ‘The classification excludes, inter alia, the jurisdiction of the Hungarian Competition Authority,’ brokerage Equilor said in a client note on Tuesday. The waiving of antimonopoly approval requirements came despite 4iG already owning DIGI Hungary, which occupies third place in the national fixed broadband market closely behind Vodafone; TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Vodafone and DIGI held respective 21.2% and 20.9% fixed broadband shares at end-September 2022, behind market leader Magyar Telekom (42.8%). In the mobile market, Vodafone claimed a 26.2% share at the same date, behind Yettel Hungary (26.4%) and Magyar Telekom (45.4%), while DIGI remains a minnow in the mobile sector with 1.9% of subscriptions at that date, according to GlobalComms. 4iG also highlighted that the Vodafone Hungary takeover will make the enlarged group the national pay-TV market leader.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate on 9 January 4iG (via subsidiary Antenna Hungaria) and Hungarian state vehicle Corvinus International Investment announced a binding agreement to buy 100% of Vodafone Hungary from the UK’s Vodafone Group at an enterprise value of HUF660 billion (USD1.78 billion), with the deal set to close on 31 January, giving 4iG a 51% stake while the government will take the remainder. The takeover plan was first revealed in August 2022.

Hungary, 4iG, Antenna Hungaria, DIGI (Hungary), UPC Hungary (part of Vodafone), Vodafone Group, Vodafone Hungary

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