The European Commission (EC) yesterday extended the deadline for its decision on Telefonica’s proposed acquisition of German mobile operator E-Plus by a further five working days to 3 July. Reuters quotes Telefonica Deutschland spokesman Albert Fetsch as saying that the extension was normal and did not indicate problems with the antitrust authority. ‘The minor delay is normal in such processes with complex negotiations,’ he said. Earlier this month the EC halted its investigation into the EUR8.55 billion (USD11.9 billion) deal, as Telefonica failed to submit the required documents. The clock was restarted on 8 May and the EC’s deadline date pushed back to 26 June. Netherlands-based KPN agreed to sell E-Plus to Telefonica in July 2013 and in December the EC opened an in-depth investigation into the transaction, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes. If approved, the combination of Telefonica and E-Plus would reduce the number of network operators from four to three, with the enlarged Telefonica becoming the market leader ahead of Telekom Deutschland and Vodafone Germany.
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