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Britain’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has given its final approval of the planned 50:50 joint venture, to be created in a merger valued at (31.4 billion pounds) $44 billion, between Liberty Global’s cable operator Virgin Media and Telefonica’s mobile firm O2.
The CMA cleared the transaction without remedies Thursday. That means that “all regulatory conditions are met in alignment with the original terms and the transaction is now expected to close by June 1,” the companies said.
“The combination will create a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the U.K. market” with annual revenue of 11 billion pounds ($15.5 billion).
Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, and José Maria Alvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefonica, said in a joint statement: “This is a watershed moment in the history of telecommunications in the U.K. as we are now cleared to bring real choice where it hasn’t existed before, while investing in fiber and 5G that the U.K. needs to thrive.”
The joint venture will deliver “substantial” synergies valued at 6.2 billion pounds ($8.8 billion), the companies have said.
Liberty Global and Telefonica said last month that Virgin CEO Lutz Schüler would serve as CEO of the venture, with O2 CFO Patricia Cobian becoming CFO.
Said Fries and Alvarez-Pallete: “Lutz and Patricia are now set to take the reins and launch a national connectivity champion that will connect more people, ignite more businesses back to growth and power more communities for the greater good.”
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