Author: Aaran Fronda
15 Jan 2016
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the acquisition of the mobile network EE by BT Group, a leading fixed telecoms company.
The deal, which is valued at £12.5bn, left competitors like TalkTalk feeling “disappointed” due to fears that “ the new entity will be even more dominant than it was before privatisation 30 years ago”.
The CMA responded to critics of its decision, explaining that after a lengthy investigation it does not believe the merger would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK telecoms market.
“We recognise that this is a merger which is important to many consumers and businesses”, said John Wotton, inquiry chair at the CMA. “We have heard a number of concerns from competitors. After a detailed investigation, our provisional view is that these concerns will not translate into a competition problem in practice. Having considered all the evidence, the group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers”, he added.
The CMA does not believe the merger would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK telecoms market
BT was naturally pleased by the CMA’s recent decision to provisionally approve its acquisition of EE, with the company looking to continue working with the regulator throughout the remainder of the merger process.
“We’re pleased that the CMA has provisionally approved BT’s acquisition of EE”, said BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
“The combined BT and EE will be good for the UK, providing investment and ensuring consumers and businesses can benefit from further innovation in a highly competitive market.”