Watchdog says yes to BT's EE takeover deal. Shrugs. No 'significant' harm in it

Just as expected

The UK's competition watchdog has today cleared the £12.5bn takeover of EE by BT, finding that the merger will "not cause significant harm to competition or the interests of consumers."

The deal will give BT a 32 per cent share of the the mobile subscription market and nearly 600 EE shops.

Earlier this week The Register reported that the Competition and Markets Authority was days away from rubber-stamping the deal.

John Wotton, CMA inquiry chair, said the mobile services market in the UK is competitive, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators.

He said that because BT is a smaller operator in mobile than EE "it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect in this market."

He added: "We have heard wider concerns about the sector, including about Openreach and its regulation by Ofcom. Our job has been to examine the specific impact of this merger on competition and consumers and, where relevant, we’ve looked at how these issues might be affected by the merger."

Wotton also said the upcoming Ofcom review, which is considering whether to recommend a spin-off of Openreach, as having "more relevance" to addressing those concerns. ®

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