TeliaSonera, Telenor offer concessions to EU covering Danish merger

Telenor and TeliaSonera offered concessions to the European Commission (EC) in a bid to alleviate European Union (EU) concerns over a proposed merger of their operations in Denmark, despite previously shrugging off an EC statement of objections to the deal.

Although the concessions are undisclosed under EU policy, Reuters reported that a TeliaSonera spokesperson said the new proposals will guarantee that completion of the deal goes ahead.

The spokesperson told the news agency that the operators "will continue our constructive dialogue with the Commission and we hope to see an approval later this year."

The companies announced their plan to combine Denmark's number two and three operators into a 50:50 joint venture in December 2014. In April, the EU expressed concern that "the merged entity would face insufficient competitive constraint from the only two remaining players," adding this could create a situation where higher prices and less innovation stifle the market.

The EC is concerned that the merger would create Denmark's largest operator in terms of revenue and subscriber numbers, ahead of rivals TDC and Hi3G (Three Denmark); TDC would be a similar size to the merged businesses, while Hi3G would be the smallest player in the market.

In Denmark, TeliaSonera and Telenor each provide mobile and fixed telecoms services, as well as broadband and TV. TeliaSonera offers mobile services under the brand of Telia and two sub-brands: Call Me and DLG Tele. Meanwhile, Telenor provides mobile services under its main brand Telenor, and sub-brands, CBB Mobil and BiBoB.

As a result of the new concessions offered by the operators, the EC stated it will delay its decision on the deal from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7, Reuters reported. The commission will explore the offers made and will also seek feedback from third parties.

Last week Nokia Networks said it completed a groundbreaking network sharing project for TT-Network (TTN), a joint venture between TeliaSonera and Telenor in Denmark, marking another step towards the integration of Telenor and TeliaSonera's Danish businesses.

For more:

- see this Reuters article
- see this EU announcement

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