by Saleha Riaz
The European Commission has rejected a request made in November by the Spanish competition authority asking for the assessment of the proposed €3.4 billion acquisition of Jazztel by Orange to be referred to it.
The EC said in a statement that it feels “it is better placed to deal with the transaction and ensure consistency in the application of merger control rules in the fixed and mobile telecommunications sectors across the EEA.”
“The Commission will nonetheless continue to cooperate closely with the Spanish competition authority in the assessment of the case,” it added.
The EC recommenced its probe into the bid last week, after Orange provided details of the deal that the regulator had requested.
It expanded its probe in December which was then suspended on 14 January. The new deadline for a decision is now 30 April.
If the takeover is successful, it will create Spain’s second-biggest fixed broadband operator and strengthen the operator’s position in the mobile market, where it is in third spot, behind Telefonica and Vodafone.
Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange, said he hoped to close the deal in the spring.