The European Commission cleared the Vodafone/Liberty Global joint venture in the Netherlands, on the condition the mobile operator sells its fixed line business.
The commission previously stated the two companies had submitted concessions on 12 July, without revealing what they were. The commission extended its deadline for considering the merger until 3 August (today).
It is anticipated that the purchaser of Vodafone’s divested assets will play a competitive role similar to that of the mobile operator, said the commission. No potential purchaser was identified.
“The divestment entirely removes the overlap between the activities of Vodafone and Liberty Global in the markets for the provision of fixed and fixed-mobile multiple play bundles and so addresses the identified competition concerns,” it added.
The deal in the Netherlands will create a converged 50:50 joint venture in the country, through Liberty Global under the Ziggo brand, and Vodafone.
In parallel, the EC turned down a request by the Dutch competition authority to consider the merger. Given its experience of assessing cases in the telecoms sector, and the need to ensure consistency across the EU, the commission argued it was better placed to consider the case.