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Nick Hill

BT receives CMA approval for £12.5bn takeover of EE

Today the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally cleared BT’s £12.5bn acquisition of EE, unconditionally without remedies.

The deal, which was first announced in February, is expected to create the UK’s largest power in broadband, mobile phones and fixed lines.

BT will continue to work with the CMA through the remainder of its takeover enquiry.

The CMA provisionally decided that the acquisition “is not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in any market in the UK”.

These include the supply of retail mobile, wholesale mobile, mobile backhaul, wholesale broadband and retail fixed broadband services.

Gavin Patterson, BT chief executive, said: “We’re pleased that the CMA has provisionally approved BT’s acquisition of EE. The combined BT and EE will be good for the UK, providing investment and ensuring consumers and businesses can benefit from further innovation in a highly competitive market”.

John Wotton, the chair of the CMA inquiry into the BT/EE merger, added: “We provisionally think that the retail mobile market in the UK, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators, is competitive.

“As BT is a smaller operator in mobile, it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect on competition. By the same token, it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect on competition in the retail broadband market, where EE is only a minor player.

“Having considered all the evidence, the group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers.”

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