German cable operator association FRK welcomes the decision by the European Commission (EC) to launch an in-depth investigation into Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of Liberty Global’s German subsidiary Unitymedia.
“The intended merger prevents potential competition between the two companies. In order to grow, both companies would have to penetrate each other’s territories. The prevention of this move alone is anti-competitive,” said FRK chairman Heinz-Peter Labonte.
“In our view, there are also several other negative effects, for example on the wholesale market in the housing industry, on infrastructure competition in the deployment of fibre-optic networks and on competition for TV rights, which justify strict conditions or even a prohibition of the move,” added Labonte.
“Of course, we would have welcomed it if the case had ended up with the German antitrust authorities. They are much more familiar with the situation, the German market and the considerable negative effects of approval,” said Labonte. “On the other hand, the now initiated in-depth investigation in Brussels shows that the Commission’s competition regulators also have considerable concerns.”