The European Commission (EC) is considering a closer review of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa’s agreed takeover of Telefonica O2 Ireland, amid concerns that the plan will see the level of competition in the Republic cut by one, to just three main mobile providers. Reuters reports two people familiar with the matter as saying that Hutch may have until 6 November to either ‘propose concessions or else face an inquiry which could extend up to five months’. The takeover, which was agreed in June this year and will see Hutch pay up to EUR850 million (USD1.2 billion) for O2 Ireland, adding it to its existing Irish venture, 3 Ireland. The combination will boost Hutch’s market share by a factor of roughly four to close to 39%, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The Hong Kong group is currently awaiting the antitrust regulator’s decision for the first phase of the review.
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