Vodafone expects EU approval of Liberty Global deal by summer

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Vodafone is confident that it will secure EU antitrust approval for its $22 billion (€19.6 billion) purchase of Liberty Global’s assets in Germany and Eastern Europe by the middle of the year, it said this week.

The statement from the world’s second-largest mobile operator was made after it received the European Commission’s statement of objections that set out concerns about the deal.

In December 2018, the EU opened an “in-depth” probe into the deal, which had been criticised by rivals Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica Deutschland. The commission was concerned about the deal’s impact on competition in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. 

Business as usual

“The Commission’s statement of objections is an expected part of the review process. We will review the statement and continue our constructive dialogue with the Commission,” Vodafone said in a statement. 

“We still expect to receive final approval in the middle of this year.” 

In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, Vodafone is mainly active as a mobile network operator, and Liberty Global as a fixed telecommunications operator.

In Germany, Vodafone and Liberty Global operate non-overlapping networks that cover different areas and regions. Vodafone is also active in areas where Liberty Global offers cable services via wholesale access to Deutsche Telekom's xDSL network.