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EC Approves Vodafone's Acquisition Of Liberty Global Cable Business

The European Commission or EC said Thursday that it has approved Vodafone Group Plc's (VOD.L,VOD) proposed acquisition of Liberty Global Inc.'s (LBTYA, LBTYB, LBTYK) cable business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by Vodafone.

The approval comes after an in-depth investigation by the Commission of the proposed transaction. The Commission has concluded that the transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 19 October 2018 and the Commission opened an in-depth investigation on 11 December 2018.

This involves the acquisition by Vodafone of Liberty Global's business in Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Germany, primarily focusing on the operation of cable networks.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said, "We have today approved Vodafone's purchase of Liberty Global's business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania subject to remedies designed to ensure that customers will continue enjoying fair prices, high-quality services and innovative products."

Following its investigation, the Commission had concerns that, in Germany, the effects of the merger would eliminate the important competitive constraint exerted by the merging companies on each other in the market for the retail supply of fixed broadband services, in particular in the areas currently served by Liberty Global's subsidiary Unitymedia.

The Commission was also concerned that the transaction would increase the market power of the merged entity in the market for the wholesale supply of signal for the transmission of TV channels.

However, Vodafone has offered commitments and taken steps to address the Commission's competition concerns, the EC noted.

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