Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete (pictured) rejected reports the company planned to sell its German unit, while also revealing concerns over the impact of Vodafone’s planned acquisition of Liberty Global’s assets in the country.
In an interview with business publication Handelsblatt, Alvarez-Pallete reiterated the international operator group’s commitment to the German market, where subsidiary Telefonica Deutschland runs its O2 mobile brand. His comments follow media reports in March the company was assessing the prospects of a sale.
O2 Deutschland competes with Deutsche Telekom for mobile market leadership, with Vodafone Germany the only other operator in the market.
However, the German communications sector is tipped for disruption as Vodafone strengthens its converged play with the proposed acquisition of Liberty Global’s fixed assets in Germany – part of a multi-country deal.
During the Handelsblatt interview Alvarez-Pallete echoed concerns from his counterpart at Deutsche Telekom, Timotheus Hoettges, who has been extremely vocal on his belief Vodafone’s Liberty Global deal should be blocked.
Alvarez-Pallete called for strict regulatory requirements to be slapped on the acquisition, “if approved at all”. He added Telefonica was concerned about the structure of the German communications market post-acquisition.