EU opens in-depth probe into Telefonica's German acquisition
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators started an in-depth investigation on Friday into Telefonica's (TEF.MC) proposed offer for KPN's (KPN.AS) German unit, saying the deal could reduce competition in the German mobile market.
Spanish telecoms provider Telefonica's takeover of KPN's E-Plus will put it on par with market leaders Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) and Vodafone (VOD.L).
"At this stage, it cannot be excluded that the reduction in the number of competitors following the merger would increase the likelihood that MNOs (mobile network operators) will coordinate their competitive behavior and increase prices," the European Commission, which acts as the EU's competition watchdog, said in a statement.
The European Commission set a May 14 deadline for its decision.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)
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