Vodafone set for EU go-ahead on Liberty Global deal: sources

FILE PHOTO: Coaxial TV Cable is seen in front of Vodafone and Liberty Global logos in this illustration taken May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Vodafone is set to secure EU antitrust approval for its $22 billion bid for Liberty Global’s cable networks in Germany and central Europe after offering concessions in May, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Vodafone, the world’s No. 2 mobile operator, is looking to the deal to help it better compete with German market leader Deutsche Telekom.

It offered to strengthen rival Telefonica Deutschland by giving it access to its merged high-speed broadband network after the European Commission said the deal may reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic.

The proposal would allow Telefonica Deutschland to offer super-fast services over Vodafone and Liberty Global’s German subsidiary Unitymedia’s cable networks in Germany.

Smaller rivals, however, have criticized the concessions as insufficient, raising the possibility of a legal challenge to the EU decision.

The Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by July 23, and Liberty Global declined to comment. Vodafone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans and Alexander Smith