Government fast tracks EE, BT merger inquiry

CMA logoBT’s proposed acquisition of EE is currently under investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which started its phase 1 inquiry on May 18th last.

BT wants the CMA to “fast track” the phase 2 investigation and the authority has now agreed to its request.

The CMA said it must have evidence that the test to move to the second phase of the investigation.

And it has found that while the acquisition gives “a realistic prospect” of lessening of competition, it’s “appropriate” to go ahead with the “fast track” investigation of the merger.

The CMA said that worries about competition were raised but it felt that it was OK to press ahead with phase 2.

The second phase will be reviewed by independent panel members and the CMA said that third parties will have the chance to give their views on the merger.

Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s executive director of markets and mergers, said” BT and EE… supply important inputs at the wholesale level. We have found that there is a real risk that the merger could reduce their incentives to supply these inputs and that this could have a detrimental impact on the retail mobile market.”

Coscelli said both BT and EE recognise that there are complex matters in the proposed merger.