Liberty Global has completed the sale of its operations in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic to Vodafone.
“With the acquisition of Liberty’s assets in Germany and CEE, we have completed our transformation into Europe’s leading converged operator,” said Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read. “Not only have we reshaped our business, becoming the owner of the largest gigabit-capable next generation network infrastructure in the region, we are now able to play our part in realising the digital society for millions of customers.”
The move follows the approval of the €18.4 billion deal by the European Commission, granted after an in-depth investigation.
The EU Commission’s decision was, however, not well received in Germany by competitors and industry associations. They criticise that the acquisition of Liberty Global’s German cable unit Unitymedia by Vodafone would reduce competition, grant Vodafone a de facto monopoly in the cable market and slow down fibre-optic network deployment.
The opponents are therefore considering taking legal action against the EU Commission’s decision to approve Vodafone’s takeover of Unitymedia.
In a related development, Vodafone Group has also announced the full divestiture of Vodafone New Zealand for €2.1 billion. The 100% sale of Vodafone New Zealand was made to a consortium headed up by Infratil Limited and Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
“This transaction is a continuation of our strategy to optimise our portfolio and reduce our debt. I am pleased we will continue our 21-year relationship with the business and talented team in New Zealand through a Partner Market agreement, delivering Vodafone’s technology and services to benefit the country as it transitions to a digital society,” added Read.