EU Greenlights Vodafone Takeover of ONO

3:51 AM PST 07/03/2014 by Pamela Rolfe

The commission did not place any conditions on the acquisition, saying competition in Spain will not be undermined.

MADRID — The European Commission has cleared Vodafone Group's €7.2 billion ($9.55 billion) acquisition of Spanish telecoms operator ONO, which is part of a recent drive toward telecoms consolidation in Europe and brings fixed-line capabilities to Vodafone's Spanish business.

"Vodafone and ONO's activities overlap in a number of markets in the fixed and mobile telecommunications markets in Spain. However, the Commission found that the impact of the transaction on these markets is likely to be limited, as the combined entity would continue to face significant competition from other market players," the commission said in a statement on Wednesday.

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ONO, which serves approximately 7.2 million homes, is the Spanish market leader in broadband, offering high speeds and innovative pay TV services, but it has faced increased competition from Telefonica and Jazztel.

The deal for privately owned ONO is Vodafone's third acquisition of a European pay TV and broadband asset in two years. It recently outbid John Malone's Liberty Global for German cable operator Kabel Deutschland. This deal will allow Vodafone to offer an increasing range of services and hand over some of its mobile traffic to ONO's cable network.

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The European Commission on Wednesday also approved the creation of Germany's biggest mobile company when it cleared the acquisition of E-plus in Germany, a unit of Dutch KPN, by Telefonica of Spain.

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