Vodafone and Liberty on verge of winning EC approval for Dutch JV

Jeroen Hoencamp has been appointed CEO of Vodafone NL from September 2016

Vodafone Group and Liberty Global are set to win approval from the European Commission (EC) for a planned 50-50 joint venture in the Netherlands after offering minor concessions, Reuters reported.

The EC has set a provisional deadline of Aug. 3 for a decision on the proposed deal, which aims to unite Vodafone Netherlands with Liberty Global's Ziggo to create a new fixed-mobile giant on the Dutch market.

The two groups submitted their concessions on Jul. 12, although no details were provided. They appear confident that the deal will be approved, underlined by the recent appointment of Jeroen Hoencamp as the new CEO of Vodafone NL from Sept. 1.

This means that the current Vodafone UK CEO would also head up the planned joint venture. He replaces Rob Shuter, who is set to become CEO of MTN. Vodafone Group and Liberty Global also named Ziggo CEO Ritchy Drost as the future CFO of the joint venture.

The proposed merger of Vodafone Netherlands with the Ziggo cable broadband network would create the second largest telecoms service provider in the country behind KPN, with some 4.2 million video, 3.2 million broadband, 2.6 million fixed-line telephony, and 5.3 million mobile subscribers.

However, a survey conducted by Dutch research company Conclusr in March warned that the new entity would mean higher prices in the country's business market because of the resulting concentration.

Ton Ketelaars, CEO of Conclusr Research, told FierceWireless:Europe at the time that this "would be a reason for us that the EU or Dutch authorities should say this is not a good development."

Meanwhile Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries has also previously said that there are no plans to extend the cooperation with Vodafone beyond the Netherlands, quashing rumours of a bigger relationship between the two groups. He also said Liberty did not plan to add new countries in Europe, but did intend to expand operations in countries where it is already present, including Poland.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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