February 5, 2024

CMA launches Phase 1 investigation of proposed UK telecom merger

On January 26, 2024, the UK Competition and Markets Authority notified Vodafone UK and Three UK that it had initiated a Phase 1 inquiry into the proposed merger of the two companies.  The companies, two of four mobile network operators in the United Kingdom, would combine the Vodafone and Three telecommunications operations under a single network provider.

The investigation began in October 2023, when the CMA issued a preliminary invitation to comment with a view to examining whether the proposed merger would result in the creation of a relevant merger situation within the meaning of the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002, and if so, whether such a situation was likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition within UK markets.  If the CMA finds, when the comment period concludes after forty working days, that the merger could lead to a substantial lessening of competition, then it may refer the matter for a Phase 2 investigation.  The Phase 1 investigation must be completed by March 22, 2024.

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