CMA to investigate Virgin and O2 merger

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate a proposed merger between Virgin Media and O2 because of its potential impact on competition in UK telecommunications.

After the announcement of the deal was made earlier this year, the CMA said it would make a formal request to the European Commission (EC) to review the merger.

“We welcome the European Commission’s decision to transfer the proposed deal between Virgin and O2 to the CMA for investigation,” said Andrew Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA.

“These are incredibly important UK markets, that continue to evolve, and the deal needs to be carefully reviewed to make sure that consumers are protected.

“We have worked closely with the European Commission so far and we will build on the work that has already been carried out to make sure that the case can be investigated as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The CMA said that Virgin and O2 have requested to move quickly to the in-depth Phase 2 stage of its review through a ‘fast-track’ process.

For most merger cases, a full Phase 1 investigation is needed to determine whether a deal can be cleared or whether further scrutiny is required.

But merging companies are able to ask for a ‘fast track’ where it is clear from an early stage that the deal requires an in-depth investigation.

The authority expects to accept this request unless it receives any valid objections.

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