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EU Clears Merger Of Vodafone Italy's Towers With INWIT

British telecom major Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L,VOD) announced Monday that the European Commission has cleared the combination of Vodafone Italy's towers with INWIT's passive network infrastructure. This would create Europe's second largest listed tower company with over 22,000 towers.

Vodafone and TIM have offered commitments to support access to INWIT's passive infrastructure by all market participants.

Under the commitments, INWIT will make space available to third parties on 4,000 of its towers in more urbanised areas while committing to preserving existing tenancies.

INWIT can maximise tower utilisation while preserving the ability of Vodafone and TIM to efficiently roll out their respective 5G networks.

The European Commission has confirmed that it is supportive of Vodafone and TIM's plans to share active network equipment outside of major cities. This would allow a faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area, at a lower cost, and with a lower environmental impact.

The active sharing partnership will exclude municipalities with populations of over 100,000 inhabitants, as well as their more densely populated suburbs.

The combination was approved with 99.9% of the votes by INWIT minority shareholders in favour, and is expected to take place by the end of March.

Under the combination, Vodafone will receive proceeds of 2.14 billion euros, as announced in July 2019.

Both Vodafone and TIM will each hold a 37.5% shareholding in INWIT. INWIT will then pay a special dividend of €0.5936 to holders of the company's post-merger ordinary shares.

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