The £30 billion merger between Liberty Global’s Virgin Media and Telefonica’s O2 has been given the go ahead by the UK’s competition watchdog.
After a lengthy investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority approved the deal, without imposing any additional remedies. The CMA is confident that neither business or domestic customers would see any price increases. It means the transaction will go ahead without any remedies imposed in the new company.
In a joint statement, Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, and José Maria Alvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefonica, said: “This is a watershed moment in the history of telecommunications in the UK as we are now cleared to bring real choice where it hasn’t existed before, while investing in fibre and 5G that the UK needs to thrive. We thank the CMA for conducting a thorough and efficient review. Lutz and Patricia are now set to take the reins and launch a national connectivity champion that will connect more people, ignite more businesses back to growth and power more communities for the greater good.”
The O2 mobile network is the largest in the UK with 34 million customers including the Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff.
Virgin Media runs an MVNO that is currently operated by BT Enterprise. It will move to Vodafone when the present contract expires in 2021.
Virgin Media has 5.27 million broadband subscribers, 3.69 million TV subs and 3.18 million mobile telephony customers.
The transaction is expected to formally close on June 1.