Vodafone's €18.4bn Liberty Global acquisition gets the go-ahead from Europe's top regulator
The European Commission has approved Vodafone's proposed acquisition of a string of Liberty Global telecommunication assets in Eastern Europe, according to an official release.
The €18.4 billion deal will see Vodafone become the largest provider of converged telecoms services in Europe, with 162.6 mobile, TV and fixed-line broadband customers spread across the continent.
As part of the deal, Vodafone Group will take possession of Liberty Global's operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Germany. The deal will expand Vodafone's European empire to 13 countries.
“With the European Commission’s approval of this transaction, Vodafone transforms into Europe’s largest fully-converged communications operator, accelerating innovation through our gigabit networks and bringing greater benefits to millions of customers in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. This is a significant step toward enabling truly digital societies for our customers,” said Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read.
As part of the deal, and to help secure the necessary regulatory approval, Vodafone has agreed to provide wholesale access on its ultrafast German broadband network to Telefonica Deutschland.
Vodafone says that the acquisitions will create cost-saving synergies in the region of €6 billion after integration costs.
The deal is being hailed as a crucial step in Vodafone's expansion plans, with analysts saying that it highlights a renewed focus on convergence among Europe's biggest telcos.
"This deal has received regulatory approval despite reducing the number of national players in both the fixed-line and TV markets in Germany. For sure, this creates a far stronger rival to Deutsche Telekom across the region. Convergence is a key focus for many telcos but so far their track record in execution has been poor," said Paolo Pescatore, tech, media and telco at PP Foresight.
The transaction is now expected to complete in the 31st July 2019.
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