Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has approved the acquisition of Orange Austria by Hutchison 3G Austria, subject to the divestment of frequencies and a commitment to offer low wholesale access fees to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). The Commission’s analysis focused on the potential price effects resulting from the reduction of the number of network operators in the Austrian mobile telecommunications market from four to three. The approved remedy package is expected to reduce entry barriers for potential new entrants and encourage competition at the retail level.
Hutchison’s acquisition of Orange is conditional on the separate acquisition of Orange’s discount brand Yesss! by Telekom Austria which was approved unconditionally by the Austrian Cartel Court on November 27, 2012. The Austrian competition authority (BWB) has the right to appeal the court’s decision by the end of the month. Subject to the clearance of the Yesss! transaction, the acquisition of Orange will enable Hutchison to meet its customers’ growing demand for data services and achieve spectrum synergies going forward.
A team advised Orange Austria from the beginning of the transaction and throughout the proceedings in front of the European Commission and the Austrian competition authority.