Thursday, August 4, 2016 - 09:18
Vodafone, Ziggo merger given green light by Europe regulators
The European Commission gave the go-ahead for Vodafone to merge with Ziggo, the Dutch branch of Liberty Global. This can be done on the condition that Vodafone sells off its department that offers internet and telephony, Bloomberg reports. The Commission believes that Vodafone selling this department will ensure that there is sufficient competition for wired internet on the Dutch market - whoever buys the department will play a competitive roll on the Dutch market, similar to Vodafone's current roll. "The commitments offered by Vodafone ensure that Dutch consumers will continue to enjoy competitive prices and good choice", Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust commissioner, said in an email statement. The merger will result in a company with over 5 million mobile customers, 4 million video customers and 3 million broadband customers. It is not yet clear under what name the merged company will go forward. But whatever it is called, it will be a big competitor for current Dutch market leader KPN. Vodafone and Ziggo announced their intention to merge in February. The European Commission had concerns about the initial proposal for the deal as it would have eliminated the benefits to the Dutch market brought by Vodafone's recent entry. But according to the two companies, the new commitments made "address any concerns regarding the overlap between the fixed telecoms and TV activities of Vodafone and Ziggo in the Netherlands", they said in a joint statement. According to the statement, there are already a number of parties interested in the Vodafone internet and telephony department and the will now proceed with the sale process.