The European Commission (EC) cleared investment company PPF Group’s acquisition of Telenor’s mobile operations in four countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), stating the tie-up raises no competition concerns.
The deal, announced in March with a value of €2.8 billion, comprises of Telenor’s units in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Telenor Common Operation – its network and IT business in the region.
The commission noted that although PPF holds assets assets in the CEE region, including O2 Czech Republic, its agreement with Telenor does not raise competition concerns.
“First, it would not give rise to horizontal overlaps, as the companies’ activities are confined to the different territories in which they hold their respective telecommunications licenses,” said EC in a statement.
“In addition, the Commission found that the vertical links between the upstream and downstream markets for retail, mobile and fixed telecommunications services arising from the transaction would be unproblematic.”
For Telenor, the sale fits in with its simplification strategy, as it focusses on core assets in Scandinavia and Asia, and digitalisation efforts across the group to cut costs and improve efficiency.
A number of companies were reportedly interested in Telenor’s CEE units, before PPF made its approach. Telenor has said it intends to use some of the proceeds for a special shareholder dividend.