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UK watchdog refers Vodafone, Three deal to in-depth probe

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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UK watchdog refers Vodafone, Three deal to in-depth probe

(Reuters) -Britain’s competition regulator said on Thursday it would need to open an in-depth investigation into the merger between Vodafone’s UK operation and Hutchison’s Three UK after the parties did not offer remedies to ease the regulator’s competition concerns.

The $19 billion tie-up, which was announced last year, will reduce the number of networks from four to three, challenging the long-held tenet that four help keep prices low.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said last month the deal risked leaving consumers worse off and asked the companies to respond with “meaningful solutions” to its concerns that the merger will result in higher prices for consumers and businesses and lower investment.

“On 28 March 2024, the Parties informed the CMA that they would not be offering any undertakings,” the regulator said in a statement on Thursday.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)