£12.5bn BT-EE merger given all clear by competition authorities

The mammoth £12.4bn merger between BT and EE has been sanctioned by the Competition and Markets Authority, clearing the way for telecoms provider BT to go ahead with its takeover of Britain’s largest mobile operator.

The ruling follows a six month investigation into the potential ramifications of such a tie-up, including whether such a move would inhibit competition and drive up prices, but the CMA have now dismissed such concerns.

Such a deal will transform BT into a telecoms goliath straddling mobile, landlines, broadband and TV with 35m customers.

John Wotton, chairman of the CMA inquiry commented: “The retail mobile services market in the UK is competitive, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators," he said.

"As BT is a smaller operator in mobile, it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect. Similarly, EE is only a minor player in retail broadband, so again it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect in this market."

BT will now seek to conclude the deal by 29 January when it will run EE as a separate division led by Marc Allera, EE’s chief commercial offcer.

A BT-EE merger follows hot on the heels of a merger between O2 and Three, subject to a separate European competition enquiry, which would reduce the number of large mobile operators in the UK to just three.

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