Telefonica can now buy Germany’s E-Plus, following EU approval

Telefonica building Madrid

The European Commission has given its final approval to Telefónica’s $10.7 billion takeover of KPN’s German mobile carrier, E-Plus.

The Commission said back in July that it was in favor of the deal, but on the condition that Telefónica, which already owns Germany’s O2, sell 30 percent of the merged carrier’s network capacity to a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). This was because, without such a condition, Germany would only be left with three carriers with physical networks — not a competition-friendly scenario.

Telefónica had in fact agreed to such a deal with MVNO Drillisch at the end of June, with 20 percent of the combined carrier’s capacity going to Drillisch up front, and 10 percent on the table for later. The Commission said on Wednesday that it would check whether this deal met its requirements, and it looks as if that happened pretty swiftly.

“With the final clearance of the European Commission now granted, we are able to close the transaction soon, and create a leading digital telecommunication company in Germany,” Telefónica Deutschland CSO Markus Haas said in a statement on Friday.

Telefónica said it expected the acquisition to close in the third quarter of this year.

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