Vodafone Group’s €18.4 billion deal to acquire Liberty Global’s cable assets in central and eastern Europe received European Commission (EC) clearance, putting the transaction on track to be completed by the end of the month.
In a statement, Vodafone welcomed approval from the watchdog, which enables it to become “Europe’s leading converged operator, with 116.3 million mobile customers, 24.2 million broadband customers and 22.1 million TV customers across 13 European countries”.
Vodafone struck the deal to buy Liberty Global’s cable operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania in May 2018, but the EC filed a list of objections earlier this year.
The deal faced criticism from Deutsche Telekom and several other companies over competition issues, which led to doubt that it would be approved.
However, Reuters reported at the end of June the deal was on the brink of being cleared by the EC, after Vodafone seemingly addressed its demands.
As a way to maintain competition in the market, for example, the company struck a wholesale access agreement with rival Telefonica Deutschland to provide access to its and Liberty Global’s Unitymedia cable networks.
Vodafone said EC approval, which was conditional on the implementation of the agreed remedy package, will see the transaction complete by 31 July.
The operator’s CEO Nick Read (pictured) said the tie-up was “a significant step toward enabling truly digital societies for our customers”.
Vodafone added the deal is expected to generate cost and capex synergies with a net present value of more than €6 billion after integration costs, and revenue synergies exceeding €1.5 billion from cross-selling to the combined customer base.