UK Telecoms Watchdog: Give Us More Power To block M&A Deals
Ofcom, the UK’s telecommunications watchdog, wants more powers to block M&A deals post Brexit, particularly if the company involved has strategic importance.
In a speech to the Institute of Government, Sharon White of Ofcom said, “We have the opportunity to introduce a wider set of considerations in merger decisions, including policy or public-interest concerns where a company is deemed to have particular strategic significance for the UK.”
White also called for the introduction of new protections for consumers to prevent markets being uncompetitive, an argument she said the European Commission had failed to heed.
Telecoms has undergone further consolidation in recent years, with BT’s purchase of mobile operator EE cleared by regulators, while Three’s acquisition of O2 was blocked, leading to its owner Spanish Telefonica to seek a public listing for the mobile operator.
Investment bankers advising companies on M&A warn privately of increasing scrutiny over mergers and acquisitions driven by what they see as political motivated protectionism following the election of Donald Trump and Britain’s vote to quit the EU. UK telecoms watchdog wants more powers to block M&A post Brexit| Reuters