Liberty Global said it has received final regulatory approval for the 50-50 joint venture to combine its Virgin Media unit with Telefonica’s O2 business from the U.K . Competition & Markets Authority, clearing the path for the June 1 completion of the deal.
CMA approval was the final regulatory hurdle for the deal to be completed. Liberty Global and Spain’s Telefonica first proposed the transaction, which would combine Virgin Media’s broadband internet business with Telefonica’s mobile operations, last May, creating an entity valued at about $38 billion. The combined companies are expected to create a stronger competitor in the U.K. fixed and mobile markets, supporting the expansion of Virgin Media’s giga-ready network and O2’s 5G mobile deployment. The joint venture is expected to deliver about £6.2 billion in synergies and have combined revenue of about £11 billion.
The two companies named Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schüler and O2 chief financial officer Patricia Cobian as CEO and CFO, respectively, of the combined company last month.
In a joint statement, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries and Telefonica CEO José Maria Alvarez-Pallete called the deal “a watershed moment in the history of telecommunications in the UK as we are now cleared to bring real choice where it hasn’t existed before, while investing in fiber and 5G that the UK needs to thrive. We thank the CMA for conducting a thorough and efficient review. Lutz and Patricia are now set to take the reins and launch a national connectivity champion that will connect more people, ignite more businesses back to growth and power more communities for the greater good.”
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