EU clears Altice, Allianz, Omers acquisition of Covage

FILE PHOTO: The logo of cable and mobile telecoms company Altice Group is seen during a news conference in Paris, France, March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday it had approved the proposed acquisition of French fibre optics operator by rival SFR FTTH controlled by Altice, Allianz and Omers, subject to conditions.

The Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 27-nation European Union, had concerns that the takeover would reduce competition in the wholesale market for fibre-to-the-office (FTTO) networks and could shut retail competitors from access to Covage’s fibre capacity at wholesale level.

Covage only sells fibre network access on the wholesale market, while SFR FTTH is active in both wholesale and retail markets.

To address the Commission’s concerns the parties offered to divest most of Covage’s FTTO business and to offer assets and services required to operate this divested business for a transitional period.

The Commission said that the transaction, as modified by the commitments, no longer raised competition concerns.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop