Vodafone expects to secure EU antitrust approval for its 18.4 billion-euro purchase of Liberty Global’s assets in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe by the middle of the year, the company announced on April 2. The announcement follows the receipt of a document from the European Commission which outlines a number of objections to the deal.
Vodafone agreed to acquire Liberty Global’s operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania for an enterprise value of 18.4 billion euros in May 2018. In December 2018, however, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the purchase, over concerns that the takeover may reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic.
Although the details of the document were not made public by Vodafone or the commission, Bloomberg reported that the company had said it would “review the document and continue constructive dialogue” with the commission.
In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, Vodafone is mainly active as a mobile network operator, and Liberty Global as a fixed telecommunications operator.
In Germany, Vodafone and Liberty Global operate non-overlapping coaxial cable networks (such as networks that cover different areas and regions). Vodafone is also active in areas where Liberty Global offers cable services via wholesale access to Deutsche Telekom’s xDSL network.