Liberty Global and Telefonica have received official approval to merge telecom giants Virgin Media and O2.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the UK gave its final approval to the joint venture, making the transaction formally closed on 1 June 2021.
The merger will unify the UK’s fastest broadband network with the country’s largest mobile operator aiming to create “a strong fixed and mobile competitor in the UK market”. Time will also support the expansion of Virgin Media’s Giga-Ready network and 5G deployment of O2 across the country.
According to Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, the venture will bring together 46 million fixed and mobile customers.
“This is an important moment in the history of telecommunications in the UK as we are now cleared to bring real options where it has not existed before, while investing in fiber and 5G, the UK needs to grow”. he said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries and Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Palette.
“We thank the CMA for conducting a thorough and efficient review. Lutz and Patricia are now ready to take over the reins and launch a national connectivity champion that will add more people, bring more businesses back to development and more Will empower communities for greater good ”.
O2 parent company Telefonica first announced that the merger was being discussed in May 2020. Experts at CCS Insight said at the time that they expected the deal to “change the UK telecom landscape”.
“The combination of O2 and Virgin Media is a natural fit,” said Kester Mann, CCS Insight’s consumer and connectivity director last year. “Each party receives significant assets that are severely lacking: a mobile network for Virgin and a fixed line branch for O2”.
The approval of this merger could also mean greater involvement in the UK’s telecommunications world.
“We think the deal will trigger a ripple effect on the UK market: Three, Sky and TalkTalk will all assess their positions and a further deal cannot be ruled out”.