£10.25bn Three-O2 deal under threat from Brussels, reports claim

The £10.25bn takeover of O2 by rival Three could be heading for the rocks in Europe, according to reports.

The FT claims that antitrust regulators in Brussels are moving to block the deal "unless additional concessions are offered". Similarly the Times reports that "rumours swirled" in Brussels that the consolidation of the two mobile networks "is about to collapse".

Earlier this week the UK's Competition and Marketing Authority raised its "serious concerns" about the deal and urged the European Commission to only approve it with heavy restrictions on the merged entity's ability to operate.

The UK watchdog's concern is said to be based on the fear that the deal could hurt consumers by reducing competition and lead to increased prices.

But Three owner CK Hutchison points to other European nations such as Ireland and Germany already shrinking to three networks and argues Britain needs a stronger network to challenge BT and lay the pathway for 5G rollout.

Three has also been the the subject of scrutiny from the marketing industry after cutting a deal with Shine Technologies to introduce network-level ad blocking.

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