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BT makes case to regulator for EE deal

BT has made its formal submission to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, about the proposed acquisition of EE. The company has said the acquisition will be good for competition, investment and innovation in the UK – and that consumers and businesses will benefit as a result.

Central to BT’s argument is the fact the number of UK mobile network operators remaining at four. It says the ability of BT’s landline and mobile rivals to compete with BT using its arms-length Openreach network will be unaffected by the acquisition.

Following the acquisition, BT will have market shares in the broadband and mobile markets under the threshold that regulators normally look for before considering whether action is required.

BT has asked the CMA to proceed directly to a Phase 2 investigation into the proposed acquisition. This is to allow the CMA efficiently to consider any complex issues in depth without delay, and offers a shorter end-to-end review period compared to the CMA’s usual processes. The CMA is expected to confirm in about three weeks whether it will move directly to a Phase 2 inquiry.

BT expects the process and the EE transaction to complete by the end of March 2016.

Gavin Patterson, BT Group Chief Executive, said: “BT’s acquisition of EE will be good for consumers, businesses and UK plc, as well as for BT shareholders, so we are keen to get regulatory clearance.  A larger BT will be able to invest and innovate even more than now, something that’s good for jobs and good for customers.

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