Virgin-O2 Merger Referred To UK Regulator With Plans For Fast-Track

(Alliance News) - The European Commission has referred the proposed merger of Virgin Media and ...

Alliance News 19 November, 2020 | 1:42PM
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(Alliance News) - The European Commission has referred the proposed merger of Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile with O2 to the UK competition regulator for investigation.

Liberty Global PLC, which owns Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile in the UK, and O2 owner Telefonica SA announced plans for the merger worth GBP31 billion in May, creating a major new competitor for Vodafone Group PLC and BT Group PLC's EE mobile service.

At the UK Competition & Markets Authority's request, the merger has been referred to the CMA for investigation. The request was made shortly after the European Commission investigation opened, with the CMA to start is formal investigation immediately.

Virgin and O2 have requested that the CMA move quickly to the in-depth phase 2 stage of its review through a 'fast-track' process, a request the regulator intends to accept unless any valid objections are received, it said.

The CMA is inviting views by Thursday next week on how the merger could affect competition as well as on the fast track request. Views can also be submitted during the phase 2 investigation, it said.

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: "We welcome the European Commission's decision to transfer the proposed deal between Virgin and O2 to the CMA for investigation.

"These are incredibly important UK markets, that continue to evolve, and the deal needs to be carefully reviewed to make sure that consumers are protected.

"We have worked closely with the European Commission so far and we will build on the work that has already been carried out to make sure that the case can be investigated as quickly and efficiently as possible."

By Anna Farley; annafarley@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
BT Group PLC 133.10 GBX 1.14
Vodafone Group PLC 129.16 GBX 0.59
Telefonica SA 3.75
Liberty Global PLC Class A 25.80 USD 1.45

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