Regulators give green light for Telefonica in O2 takeover

Regulators have cleared a $31.5 billion deal by Telefonica SA to buy British wireless operator O2 after the Spanish acquirer agreed to exit an international roaming alliance, an Associated Press report said.

 

The report said the European Commission said it was concerned the deal would damage competition in the market for international roaming services, which allow travelers use their cellular phones on wireless networks in other countries.

 

To ease those worries, Telefonica agreed to leave the FreeMove alliance, where it cooperates on roaming with several of Europe's other top wireless players: France Telecom SA, Telecom Italia SpA and Deutsche Telekom AG, the report said.

 

O2 is a member of the smaller Starmap alliance. 

 

'In light of this commitment, the Commission has concluded that the transaction will not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area,' a European Union statement, quoted by the report, said.

 

Regulators said the tie-up would have forced O2 to shift or align its behavior to the FreeMove alliance.