July 31, 2013 / 9:19 AM / 6 years ago

Portugal regulator approves Zon-Optimus telecom merger

LISBON, July 31 (Reuters) - Portugal’s competition authority approved a merger between cable TV operator Zon Multimedia and Sonaecom’s mobile phone unit Optimus that will create the country’s second-largest telecoms firm, the companies said.

The regulator had said in April that it was looking into the possibility that the merger could create a duopoly, with the other major player in the market being Portugal Telecom .

Analysts had expected the regulator to approve the deal but had warned it could take time to make a ruling and compromise the companies’ goal of concluding the merger by September.

“We have been notified of the competition authority’s project decision stating non-opposition to the consolidation process”, Zon and Sonaecom said in a statement late on Tuesday.

The merged entity will be controlled by a joint-venture between Sonaecom and Isabel dos Santos, daughter of long-serving Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the main shareholder in Zon.

Sonaecom is controlled by conglomerate Sonae, which is in its turn controlled by tycoon Belmiro Azevedo.

The companies said the competition authority confirmed already-known conditions for the merger which include Optimus maintaining a network-sharing deal with the Portuguese unit of Vodafone, with whom it must also negotiate the sale of its fibre network.

Shares in Zon and Sonaecom led gains in the Lisbon market, with Zon up 3.2 percent at 4.45 euros and Sonaecom gaining 1.57 percent to 1.808 euros. Lisbon’s main PSI20 index was down 0.6 percent.

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