The European Commission has cleared the proposed €7.2 billion acquisition of Spanish quad-play operator ONO by the Vodafone Group under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, as the parties’ activities are largely complementary: ONO’s main activity is related to fixed telecoms, whereas Vodafone is mainly active in mobile telecoms.
Vodafone and ONO’s activities overlap in a number of markets in the fixed and mobile telecommunications markets in Spain. However, the Commission found that the impact of the transaction on these markets is likely to be limited as the combined entity would continue to face significant competition from other market players, such as the incumbent operator Telefónica, and other operators such as Orange and Jazztel.
The transaction also gives rise to a number of vertical and conglomerate relationships in the fixed and mobile telecommunication markets in Spain, in particular in relation to the provision of bundled multiple play services. However, the Commission’s investigation indicated that the merged entity will not be able to shut out fixed or mobile operators from the markets for multiple play services, because of the availability of alternative operators and the regulatory obligations in relation to wholesale access on mobile and fixed services.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in Spain.