In agreement with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, German anti-trust body the Bundeskartellamt has requested the referral of the Vodafone/Liberty merger case in as far as markets in Germany are concerned. In the middle of October, the parties had notified the European Commission that the Vodafone Group would like to acquire large parts of Liberty Global’s cable business in Europe. In Germany, the intended acquisition involves in particular the acquisition of the cable network operator Unitymedia.
Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt, commented: “In our view this is a very suitable case for partial referral. Germany, in particular, is affected by the case. Here the acquisition of Unitymedia could lead to considerable changes in the market conditions in the cable TV and telecommunications sector.”
According to the European Merger Regulation a case for which the European Commission is initially responsible due to formal criteria such as the turnover of the companies concerned, can under certain circumstances be completely or partially referred to one or several Member States. In the case of a referral the competition authority of the respective Member State conducts the merger control examination under the national competition law of that country.