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Deutsche Telekom gains EU approval for Dutch Tele2 deal

FILE PHOTO: A Deutsche Telekom logo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom secured unconditional EU antitrust approval on Tuesday for its bid to acquire Tele2's Dutch business, a move which may trigger a wave of consolidation in the industry as companies bet on a softer regulatory touch.

The European Commission said its investigation showed that the deal posed no competition concerns. Reuters had reported on Monday that the EU competition enforcer would clear the deal without demanding any concessions.

"After thoroughly analysing the specific role of T-Mobile NL and the smaller Tele2 NL in the Dutch retail mobile market, our investigation found that the proposed acquisition would not significantly change the prices or quality of mobile services for Dutch consumers," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The combined company would be the third largest player in the Netherlands but still significantly behind market leader KPN and second-placed player VodafoneZiggo.

The Commission said the deal was unlikely to lead to significant price increases nor would it increase the likelihood of mobile network operators coordinating in anti-competitive practices.

The telecoms industry has long called on the European Commission to take a broader view of mergers aimed at boosting revenue and investment, as well as allowing it to compete more effectively against internet rivals.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Francesco Guarascio and Jane Merriman)