OFT sets deadline for T-Orange merger comments

OFT sets deadline for T-Orange merger comments

The Office of Fair Trading has set a deadline of  21 January for all comments on the proposed Orange/T-Mobile merger.

The fair trade watchdog is currently studying the details of the proposed merger with a view to deciding whether it should be investigated by the UK authorities as well as the EU Commission.

In a Stock Exchange announcement yesterday, the OFT said that, ‘given the short amount of time the OFT has to make any request to the European Commission,’ submissions had to be in by 21 January.

The move comes after Orange and T-Mobile formally sought the EU Commission’s approval for the deal earlier this week.

The merger is facing concerted opposition from rival UK operators, Consumer Focus, Which? and other watchdog groups.

If the OFT requests that the merger be investigated by the UK authorities - and the EU Commission grants its request - the merger could face significant delays. The OFT would then carry out further investigations before deciding whether to refer the merger to the Competition Commission under the Enterprise Act 2002.

Dafydd Nelson, merger analyst at MLex Market Intelligence, said that the OFT has only made three requests for mergers to be referred to the UK authorities since the merger regulations were changed in 2004.

He added: ‘Having said that, the OFT may feel it wants to look at the deal in a different way to the way the EU Commission will view it. It could be that the OFT has a different view on the UK market than the EU Commission. It is significant that the Government has said in a Government paper that that the UK operator market currently has the right number of participants.’

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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