By Stuart Thomson
Spanish service provider MásMóvil has secured preliminary approval from markets regulator the CNMC for its planned takeover of northern regional cable operator Euskaltel, which operates nationally via the Virgin telco brand.
The regulator has approved the first phase of the takeover, which will see the consolidation of the fourth and fifth largest operators in the country.
The CNMC said that it had found that the deal does not pose significant competition concerns and is viewed positively by other operators as furthering consolidation in Spain – a market that has been subject to intense price competition among the players in the market.
The watchdog said that the transaction does not significantly alter the competition situation. At a national level, MásMóvil will strengthen its position as the fourth operator in retail markets. Euskaltel’s presence, it said, is still limited, so the combination will not have a significant impact.
In the case of Asturias, Galicia and the Basque Country, where Euskaltel has a significant share of the retail market and a strategy that differentiates it from MásMóvil, the CNMC said that there are other significant operators that will continue to exert competitive pressure.
The watchdog said it did not see a significant impact from the merger on wholesale markets either.
MásMóvil operates a number of low-cost brands as well as its main own-brand offering – Yoigo, Pepephone, Llamaya, Lebara, ocean and Lycamobile – while Euskaltel provides services in Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country via operating units R, Telecable and Euskaltel respectively, as well as a national offering under the Virgin telco brand.