The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) initiated an investigation into the sale of CK Hutchison’s European tower assets to Cellnex Telecom, seeking to establish whether the deal would cause hurdles for rivals following completion.

In a notice issued yesterday (12 April), the watchdog said the probe will be concluded within 45 days and aim to find whether the transaction is likely to eliminate or reduce competitiveness through “the establishment or strengthening of a dominant position” in the telecoms infrastructure market.

AGCM expressed concerns the merger will lead to the concentration of market power by Cellnex Italia, which it estimated will control more than 70 per cent of the nation’s mobile infrastructure, potentially limiting the “degree of openness” for third-party operators.

The authority highlighted the deal could also lead to price hikes or reductions in available capacity, to the benefit of operators “already in possession of long-term contracts, such as Wind Tre”.

CK Hutchison’s shareholders approved the sale of its tower assets across the continent to Cellnex Telecom in December 2020, in a transaction worth €10 billion.