January 26, 2015 / 10:56 AM / 5 years ago

EU regulators reject Spanish bid to examine Orange, Jazztel deal

A woman walks past an Orange shop in Madrid, September 16, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators rejected on Monday a request from the Spanish competition authority to review French telecoms group Orange’s 3.4-billion-euro ($3.82 billion) bid for Spain’s Jazztel, saying they were more qualified to deal with the case.

France’s largest telecoms operator and its Spanish peer sought EU approval for their deal in October last year, prompting the Spanish watchdog’s request to the European Commission.

The EU executive, which opened an in-depth probe into the deal in December last year concerned that it would reduce competition for fixed Internet access and fixed-mobile multiple play offers in Spain, said it would keep the case.

“Given its extensive experience in assessing cases in this sector, it is better placed to deal with the transaction and ensure consistency in the application of merger control rules in the fixed and mobile telecommunications sectors across the European Economic Area,” the Commission said.

It had rejected similar requests from German and Irish competition regulators related to telecoms mergers in these countries.

($1 = 0.8900 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee

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