Orange Belgium faced a setback in efforts to boost its convergence credentials through an acquisition of VOO after the European Commission (EC) opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed deal.
The Orange subsidiary entered talks to acquire a majority stake the provider of TV, broadband, and fixed and mobile telecoms services in November 2021. A month later, it signed an agreement to buy 75 per cent minus one share from Belgian company Nethys, based on an enterprise value of €1.8 billion.
However, the EC has now expressed concern the proposed transaction may reduce competition in the retail markets for fixed internet services, audio-visual services and multi-play bundles including converged services in parts of Belgium.
The authority also noted cable operator Brutele, which is owned by Belgian investor Enodia, also markets its fixed telecoms services under the VOO brand.
VOO operates cable networks in the French-speaking Wallonia region of Belgium. Brutele is mainly active in the Brussels-Capital region and certain municipalities in Wallonia.
EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager indicated Orange has been a successful challenger to VOO and Brutele in parts of Belgium.
“With our in-depth investigation, we want to make sure that the acquisition of VOO/Brutele by Orange does not lead to higher prices or less quality for customers in Wallonia and parts of Brussels,” Vestager stated.
The EC has until 6 December to make a decision on the matter.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back