EC launches in-depth probe of Orange-MásMóvil deal

The European Commission has launched an in-depth probe into the possible anticompetitive impact of the plan from Orange and MásMóvil to combine their activities in Spain in a JV.

The Commission is concerned that the transaction may reduce competition in the retail supply of mobile and fixed broadband services as well as of multiple-play bundles in Spain.

Orange and MásMóvil are the second and fourth largest operators active at retail and wholesale level for fixed broadband and mobile services in Spain.

The EC said it was concerned that the reduction in the number of big operators in Spain from four to three would lead to higher prices and lower quality of service.

It is also concerned that Orange and MásMóvil together would restrict the access of MVNOs to its wholesale mobile network as well as access of alternative fixed providers to its fixed network.

The Spanish competition watchdog has requested that the case be referred back to it, which is pending.

The EC now has until August 21 to make a decision.

The merger between the two was announced in mid-2022 and is valued at €18.6 billion (an enterprise value of €7.8bn for Orange Spain and €10.9bn for MásMóvil). The two parties are hoping that the deal will be closed by the end of 2023.

The partners argue that the proposed merger will “create a sustainable player with the financial capacity and scale to continue investing to foster the future of infrastructure competition in Spain for the benefit of consumers and businesses”.

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