The European Commission unlawfully approved Hutchison’s acquisition of Orange in Austria by knowingly accepting ‘ineffective' commitments
In this first research note of 2015 we go back in time and examine in detail the European Commission’s approval of Hutchison’s acquisition of Orange in Austria in 2012 and the events that unfolded following Vice President Almunia’s July 2014 ‘mistake’ admission.
The Commission’s clearance of the Irish and German mergers in 2014 with similar Austrian-like ‘ineffective’ remedies will trigger a 4 to 3 consolidation wave in 2015. Beside Denmark, we expect 4 to 3 merger announcements in almost all the remaining 4 player mobile markets in Europe (UK, Spain, Italy, France and who knows even in Sweden and the Netherlands).
Given that merger conditions set by the Commission do not instantly (full impact typically 6 to 12 months) remedy the significant impediment of effective competition caused by the mergers it is crucial to look back, when all remedies are implemented, and determine if the significant impediment to effective competition was remedied after all in the effected market.
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