Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of VOO and Brutélé by Orange
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of VOO and Brutélé by Orange under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the proposed transaction may reduce competition in the retail markets for the supply of fixed internet services, audio-visual services, multiple-play bundles (including fixed-mobile convergent (‘FMC') services) in parts of Belgium.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge for competition policy, said:
“Access to affordable and high quality Internet and TV services comes with choice. Orange has been a successful challenger to Voo/Brutele's telecommunication services in parts of Belgium. With our in depth investigation, we want to make sure that the acquisition of Voo/Brutele by Orange does not lead to higher prices or less quality for customers in Wallonia and parts of Brussels.”
Orange is a provider of retail mobile and fixed telecommunication services in Belgium, based on its own mobile and third party fixed networks. VOO and Brutélé together are leading providers of retail fixed and mobile telecommunication services, based on their own fixed and third party mobile networks. Orange is the number two mobile provider in Belgium, while VOO and Brutélé together are the number two provider of fixed telecommunication services in the areas covered by their own fixed networks.
The Commission's preliminary concerns
The Commission's preliminary investigation shows that the transaction may significantly reduce competition in the markets where Orange, VOO and Brutélé are close competitors, namely in the markets for the retail supply of (i) fixed internet access, (ii) audio-visual services, (iii) multiple-play bundles (including FMC services) in the areas covered by VOO and Brutélé's own fixed networks.
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