In a statement published yesterday, the European Commission (EC) rejected a request to refer the planned merger of the Netherlands’ largest and second-largest cablecos Ziggo and UPC Nederland to the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) for assessment under local competition law. The EC concluded that ACM was not better placed to examine the transaction ‘because of the Commission’s experience in assessing many mergers in the converging media and telecommunications sectors, the presence of [UPC Nederlands’ parent] Liberty Global in twelve countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), and the need for a consistent application of the merger control rules.’ Further, the Commission found ‘it could not be excluded that the transaction might have effects outside the territory of the Netherlands, such as the linguistically homogeneous Flemish part of Belgium.’ The EC will therefore continue its investigation, which opened on 8 May 2014, and has until 17 October 2014 to make a final decision on the proposed merger, while it will ‘continue to cooperate closely’ with ACM on the matter.
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