Vodafone braced for EU competition warning over $22bn Liberty deal

James Warrington
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The mega-merger would see Vodafone take control of Liberty’s business in Germany and the Czech Republic (Source: Getty)

Vodafone is set to receive a warning from EU competition regulators over its $22bn (£16.7bn) takeover of Liberty Global assets, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The warnings, which will take the form of a statement of objections, will be issued to the two companies shortly, according to the report. The deadline for EU regulatory approval is 3 June.

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The mega-merger would see Vodafone take control of Liberty’s business in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, as it looks to take on rival Deutsche Telekom.

But the EU competition commission launched an investigation into the deal last year, stating it was concerned about the impact on competition in the German and Czech markets .

“It's important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services,” competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said at the time.

The proposed merger with Liberty Global, which is led by US billionaire John Malone, is Vodafone’s largest deal since its hostile £112bn takeover of German telecoms giant Mannesmann.

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But it has also faced opposition from Deutsche Telekom, which states the move would harm competition. Vodafone already owns Kabel Deutschland, the largest cable TV provider in Germany.

The EU competition commission declined to comment. Vodafone has been contacted for comment.