A statement of objections issued by the Commission alleges Altice breached EU merger regulations.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “If companies jump the gun by implementing mergers prior to notification or clearance, they undermine the effective functioning of the EU merger control system. The Statement of Objections sent to Altice shows how seriously the Commission takes breaches of the rules designed to protect the merger control system “.
EU Merger Regulation requires companies to notify transactions prior to their implementation and not to proceed until they have received clearance. Any breach is perceived as a serious infringement.
In preliminary findings, the Commission says Altice not only implemented the acquisition prior to clearance, but in some instances did so prior to notification.
The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competitive constraints from the remaining players on the market for fixed telecommunications. It therefore requested the divestment of Portuguese subsidiaries ONI and Cabovisão before giving clearance.