EC set to raise objections over Wind-3 Italia deal 

The European Commission is preparing to publish a statement of objections to the proposed merger of Wind and 3 Italia, the Italian subsidiaries of VimpelCom and Hutchison Whampoa, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. The statement, to be issued in June, will set out a series of antitrust concerns over the EUR 21.8 billion merger, said the sources.

The news comes after European competition regulators last month announced they would be carrying out an in-depth probe of the proposed deal due to concerns that it could lead to higher prices and less choice for mobile customers in Italy. Additional concerns include the fact that the reduction in the number of mobile network operators in Italy from four to three will result in less negotiating power for the country’s MVNOs.

Although the publication of a statement of objections doesn’t mean the transaction will be blocked, the EC is likely to ask both companies to agree to a series of strict conditions designed to protect competition, such as the sale of units or agreements to aid the entry of a new operator. The Commission is scheduled to publish its final decision on 18 August.

Source: Telecom Paper