Vodafone/Liberty Global Dutch JV gets Phase I clearance by EC, subject to conditions

The European Commission has issued a Phase I clearance of the creation of a joint venture that will bring together Vodafone’s and Liberty Global’s operations in the Netherlands, subject to Vodafone’s divestment of its consumer fixed line business in the country.

Vodafone NL is primarily a Mobile Network Operator which also offers fixed line services (telephony, internet and TV) using regulated access to historical incumbent KPN’s network. Liberty Global’s Ziggo is the country’s main cable network operator and, in addition to fixed line services, offers mobile services as Mobile Virtual Network Operator hosted on Vodafone’s mobile network. The JV will be the second integrated fixed-mobile provider in the Netherlands, after KPN. The divestment eliminates the parties’ overlap in the fixed line segment and thus addresses the Commission’s initial concern that the transaction “would have removed Vodafone as a player with the potential to exercise a strong competitive constraint” in the markets for fixed and fixed-mobile multiple play services.

A CRA team including Cristina Caffarra, Kai-Uwe Kühn, Pierre Regibeau, and Valter Sorana advised Liberty Global on the transaction.

See the EC’s press release for further details here.