The European Commission has turned down a request from Germany to refer the proposed acquisition of E-Plus by rival Telefonica Deutschland, a key benchmark deal, to the German competition authority for assessment.
The commission gave two reasons for why it should shoulder responsibility for a takeover that will go a long way to establishing Europe’s attitude to consolidation in the mobile sector.
The EC said its past experience in assessing major deals in the mobile industry gave it the edge over the German authority. Also, it pointed to the need for consistency in how M&A rules are applied across the EU.
Earlier this month the German authority reminded the commission of a previous request it made to take on the deal in November 2013.
Such requests are made on the grounds that a deal’s effects are restricted to a single, national market. But that attempt by the German authority to take control has been rebuffed by the commission.
The commission now has until 14 May to make a decision on Telefonica Deutschland’s proposed acquisition of E-Plus. It opened its own in-depth investigation into the deal in December 2013.