European Commission puts brakes on Three’s O2 acquisition

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3 February 2014 | 0

Three Ireland’s proposed acquisition of O2 Ireland may not be a done deal after the European Commission issued a statement of objections last week.

The Commission said the acquisition may not be allowed take place on the grounds that a reduction in the number of operators in the mobile market from four to three would be bad for consumers.

At present Vodafone is the largest mobile operator with a 39.4% share of the market, followed by O2 on 28%, Meteor on 19.7% and Three on 9%.

The Commission has set a deadline of 24 April for Three to submit a repsonse.

“We are analysing the Statement and we will be responding to the Commission’s concerns,” said Three in a statement today. “In our view, the acquisition will increase competition and bring much needed investment to the Irish market.”

Three Ireland is owned by China-based Hutchison Whampoa, which operates in 52 countries, serving 22 million customers.

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