Vodafone expects mid-year EU approval on Liberty Global deal

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

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Vodafone still expects to secure EU antitrust approval for its $22 billion purchase of Liberty Global’s assets in Germany and eastern Europe by the middle of the year, it said on Tuesday.

The world’s second-largest mobile operator expressed its confidence after receiving the European Commission’s statement of objections, which set out the watchdog’s concerns about the deal.

Reuters reported on March 20 that the EU competition enforcer would warn the company about possible anti-competitive effects from the proposed deal. The Commission had previously voiced worries about the impact in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

“The Commission’s statement of objections is an expected part of the review process. We will review the statement and continue our constructive dialogue with the Commission,” Vodafone said in a statement.

“We still expect to receive final approval in the middle of this year.”

Reporting by Paul Sandle in London and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by David Goodman