Mergers: Commission refers acquisition of newly created joint venture by Telefónica and Liberty Global to the UK competition authority

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


The European Commission has referred the proposed acquisition by Telefónica S.A. and Liberty Global PLC of a newly created joint venture to the Consumers and Market Authority (“CMA”) of the UK, at its request. The proposed joint venture will combine Telefónica’s UK Limited business (“O2”) and Liberty Global’s Virgin Media business (“Virgin Media”). Both companies are active in the telecommunications sector in the UK.

On 30 September 2020, Telefónica and Liberty Global notified the proposed transaction to the Commission. On 8 October 2020, the CMA requested that the Commission refer to it the assessment of the proposed transaction. The CMA put forward competition concerns in a number of telecommunications markets in the UK, namely the markets for retail and wholesale mobile services, and the market for leased lines. In addition, the CMA claimed that it would be well placed to review the transaction in view of the upcoming expiry of the transition period.  

The evidence gathered by the Commission confirmed that the proposed transaction threatens to affect competition in the telecommunications sector in the UK, where Telefonica and Liberty Global are currently two large market players.

Based on an overall assessment, the Commission decided to refer the proposed transaction to the CMA which will deal with the case under UK national law.

As a result of the close cooperation between the CMA and the Commission during the procedure, the CMA is already well informed on the elements of this case and the investigation will continue uninterrupted.

Companies and products

Telefónica, based in Spain, is a global telecommunications company. Its O2 business offers mobile telecommunications services in the UK, such as voice, SMS, MMS, mobile internet, mobile broadband, roaming and call termination services.

Liberty Global, based in the UK, is an international video, broadband and communications company. Its Virgin Media business provides fixed-line broadband, telephony and pay-TV services in the UK as well as mobile communications services as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (“MVNO”) under the Virgin Mobile brand.

Background

According to Article 9(2)(a) of the EU Merger Regulation, the Commission may refer a transaction notified to it to the competent national competition authority (NCA), when a Member State requests such a referral because a transaction would threaten to significantly affect competition in a market within that Member State and that market presents all the characteristics of a distinct market.

According to the Withdrawal Agreement, the transition period will expire on 31 December 2020 and the UK will no longer be part of the internal market.

A non-confidential version of today’s decision will be available on the competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.9871.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Syria’s groundbreaking constitutional talks: ‘a clear success of mediation’ says Guterres in Turkey

10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions

“911, What’s your emergency?”

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

Climate change is forcing 20 million people a year from their homes, Oxfam says

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men – WHO report

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

This is why mental health should be a political priority

Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of EU4Health programme

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Working fewer hours makes you more efficient. Here’s the proof

COVID-19: A coordinated EU health strategy needed, say MEPs

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

EU leaders agree to delay Brexit until 31 October

Yemen war ‘a test of our humanity’, and we’re ‘badly failing’ warns UN Children’s Fund chief

German Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance

Collective action to enable sustainable growth will be critical to end tropical deforestation

Adoption of new rules to better protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes

Arrest of three Libyans wanted for grave crimes ‘would send strong and necessary message’ to victims, urges top Prosecutor

State aid: Commission approves around €36 million Romanian rescue aid to state-owned flag carrier TAROM

COVID-19: from the chaos of the pandemic to the difficulties in vaccination

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Haiti cholera outbreak ‘stopped in its tracks’

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

Here’s how to achieve growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Commission welcomes political agreement on strategy for 2021-2027

The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

The challenge of palliative care in universal health coverage

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Facts, not fear, will stop COVID-19 – so how should we talk about it?

Concorde is a reminder that the only way for innovation is up

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

GDP growth slows in most G20 economies in third quarter of 2019

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

UN chief seeking ‘renewed commitment’ to global rules and values, as world leaders head to New York

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

A reality check on inclusive innovation

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s