Orange Belgium secures EC approval for Voo takeover

The European Commission has approved Orange Belgium’s acquisition of a 75% stake in Wallonia-region cable leader Voo.

The decision follows an in-depth investigation of the acquisition of Voo and related operator Brutélé by Orange. The EC had been concerned about a reduction in the number of operators of fixed networks from three to two in the areas covered by Voo and Brutélé’s networks, and that it could significantly reduce competition in markets where Orange, Voo and Brutélé were close competitors.

To head off the concerns, Orange committed to provide ri8val Telenet, which is the main operator in the Flanders region of Belgium, with access to the existing fixed network infrastructure in the Wallonia region for 10 years, as well as access to Orange’s own fu8ture FTTP network, which it plans to roll out over the next few years.

The EC said that the remedies effectively replace Orange, an access seeker on the VOO and Brutélé networks in the Walloon region and parts of Brussels, by Telenet, which will be the new access seeker on those networks.

A trustee, who has to be appointed by Orange, will monitor the implementation of the commitments and will report periodically to the Commission.

Orange said that the decision, which validated the engagements it had made to secure approval, would allow it to go ahead with the acquisition.

“We are delighted with the European Commission’s decision. After more than 25 years of Orange’s presence in Belgium, the acquisition of Voo is a major step and allows us to exploit an ultra-high-speed network in Wallonia and part of Brussels, reinforcing the deployment of our convergent multi-gigabit strategy  at national level. Our ambitious investment plan, linking the competencies and expertise of Voo and Orange, will reinforce the quality of our offers to customers and assure competitiveness in the Wallonia and Brussels regions,” said Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium.

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