The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) issued a statement yesterday confirming that is jointly working with the European Commission (EC) in assessing the proposed merger of T-Mobile Netherlands and Tele2 NL, whilst reiterating that the EC has final say on the matter. In December 2017 Sweden’s Tele2 and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DT) agreed to combine their respective Dutch operations – to be majority owned by DT with Tele2 receiving a 25% share in the combined, dual-branded company plus a cash payment of EUR190 million (USD228 million) – and on Wednesday (2 May 2018) the EC officially began its review of the proposal, setting a preliminary deadline of 12 June 2018 to reach a decision.
ACM’s statement notes that it will be sharing knowledge with the Commission and conducting market research to support the deal assessment, whilst noting that the EC ‘is best placed’ to rule on the merger as it is currently also reinvestigating the 2014 merger of Liberty Global’s UPC Netherlands unit with cableco Ziggo (today both part of fixed/mobile joint venture VodafoneZiggo). ACM also invited comments on the T-Mobile-Tele2 proposal from Dutch telecoms sector stakeholders. A spokesperson for Tele2 told Law360 in an email yesterday that the ‘regulatory process is on track,’ with ‘constructive dialogues’ ongoing with the Commission.