Telenor, TeliaSonera unfazed by EC objections to Danish merger

Telenor and TeliaSonera shrugged off a European Commission (EC) statement of objections to a planned combination of their respective Danish businesses as nothing more than an "ordinary event" in such a merger process.

The operators defended their planned merger in a joint statement, noting that the move will not affect competition in the market despite reducing the number of operators in Denmark from four to three. The duo said that "fundamental change" is needed in the market, where competition is today fierce "and will remain so in the future".

Both companies pledged to continue working closely with the EC to address the concerns outlined in its statement of objections, but reiterated that the combination of their Danish businesses would create a company "with the scale and the capacity to better invest and compete on price, quality and innovation."

The operators added that investment "in networks and technology demonstrate clear benefits for consumers and businesses, supporting an ever more connected society which demands better speed, quality and security in a competitive market. All of which we firmly believe are strengthened with our new organisation in Denmark."

In contrast, maintaining the "status quo would lead to a continued drop in investment," they added.

The companies announced their plan to combine Denmark's number two and three operators into a 50:50 joint venture in December. The EC in April opened an in-depth probe into the plan amid concerns over the competitive impact of the move. The EC is concerned by the fact that the merger would create Denmark's largest operator in terms of revenue and subscriber numbers, ahead of rivals TDC and Hi3G (Three Denmark).

In their latest statement, Telenor and TeliaSonera said they remain confident that the deal will be approved in the second half of 2015.

The EC is due to issue its decision on the proposed merger by Sep. 2, some 10 working days later than originally planned.

For more:
- see the operators' joint statement

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