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Deutsche Telekom To Offer EU Concessions Over Dutch Deal

Deutsche Telekom will offer concessions in the coming weeks to address EU antitrust concerns about its proposed purchase of Tele2’s Dutch business, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday, aiming to head off a veto on the deal.

Last month, the European Commission set out its concerns about the transaction, warning the companies that the combination of the third and fourth players in the Dutch market was likely to result in price increases.

The competition enforcer has set a Nov. 30 deadline for its decision on the deal, which would be extended if Deutsche Telekom offers concessions. Telecoms firms typically offer network access or licensing deals to try to assuage regulatory concerns.

The Commission’s tough stance underlines its reluctance to allow mergers or takeovers that reduce the number of players in a market from four to three.

Telecoms firms have long urged the EU to take a broader view of the industry and not focus only on the number of operators in a market, while regulators say they may ease up for cross-border mergers.

Deutsche Telekom argued its case before senior Commission officials on Monday. Participants at the closed-door hearing included Vodafone, T-Mobile, Tele2, Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority and other national antitrust agencies. – Reuters

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