Telefonica offers EU concessions for E-Plus deal

Reuters
People are reflected as they walk past Spanish telecom group Telefonica's flagship store in central Madrid
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People are reflected as they walk past Spanish telecom group Telefonica's flagship store in central Madrid November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

ATHENS (Reuters) - Spanish telecoms provider Telefonica (TEF.MC) has offered concessions in a bid to secure European Union antitrust approval for its proposed takeover of KPN's (KPN.AS) E-Plus unit in Germany, the European Commission said on Friday.

The 8.6-billion-euro ($11.94 billion) deal could spur more consolidation in the telecoms sector, which faces its fifth year of declining revenues in 2014. However, this could be held back if regulators demand stringent concessions in return for their approval.

The EU competition authority said it would decide on Telefonica's bid by June 23. It did not provide details, in line with its policy.

Telefonica Deutschland (O2Dn.DE) declined to comment on the concessions.

"We remain confident that we will get merger clearance in the second quarter," spokesman Albert Fetsch told Reuters by telephone.

Rivals such as German telecoms and Internet services provider Freenet (FNTGn.DE) and United Internet (UTDI.DE) say Telefonica should be forced to give competitors cost price access to its German network and sell some of its prepaid brands.

E-Plus competes with market leaders Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) and Vodafone (VOD.L).

($1 = 0.7204 Euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott)

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