LONDON: Britain’s competition regulator on Wednesday approved a blockbuster £31-billion merger of telecoms giant O2 and pay-TV company Virgin Media.
O2, owned by Spanish group Telefonica, and Virgin Media-run Liberty Global of the US announced in May plans to merge their rival British units in a massive shake-up of the UK telecommunications and home entertainment market.
The deal was unlikely to adversely affect services, the Competition and Markets Authority said in a provisional decision Wednesday.
“A thorough analysis of the evidence... has shown that the deal is unlikely to lead to higher prices or a reduced quality of mobile services — meaning customers should continue to benefit from strong competition,” noted CMA panel inquiry chairman Martin Coleman.
The merger is set to close this year, with the combined group worth around £31 billion (34.5 billion euros, $41.2 billion). O2’s network in the UK is used by its 34 million mobile-phone customers and millions more via other operators.