“UK Launches Comprehensive Investigation on Three and Vodafone’s Proposed $19B Merger”

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The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed that it’s launching a formal “phase 2” investigation into the planned merger between Vodafone and Three UK. The CMA says that the deal could lead to higher prices for consumers, while also impact future infrastructure investments. However, the CMA has given both parties a token five working days to address its concerns with “meaningful solutions” before it formally progresses the investigation. Such a scenario is precisely why the U.K. introduced the National Security and Investment Act back in 2022, with previous form in blocking deals between U.K. entities and Chinese companies. “This case has more moving parts than the CMA’s other recent big decisions, and is arguably more important for the U.K. economy,” Smith said.

UK Initiates Investigation into Proposed $19B Vodafone / Three Merger for Antitrust Concerns

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The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a formal probe into the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three UK. That is some 18 months form when they first revealed their plans back in June. It’s not entirely clear how that might impact this latest merger attempt, but Smith reckons that deal is as good as dead, regardless of what any court might subsequently find. “The previous Three/O2 merger is still technically going through the EU courts, but that deal is long since dead in reality,” Smith said. “We strongly believe that the proposed merger of Vodafone and Three will significantly enhance competition by creating a combined business with more resources to invest in infrastructure to better compete with the two larger converged players,” Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam said in a statement.