The head of Telefonica Deutschland has called for EU regulators to block Vodafone’s (LON:VOD) planned acquisition of Liberty Global’s European assets, Reuters has reported. The FTSE 100 group agreed the €18.4-billion deal earlier this year, following years of talks.
Vodafone’s share price has slipped into the red in today’s session, having given up 0.42 percent to 151.82p as of 13:34 BST. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.79 percent higher at 7,105.29 points. The group’s shares have given up just under 30 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 5.5-percent dip in the Footsie.
Telefonica Deutschland flags Liberty deal concerns
Reuters reported today that Telefonica CEO Markus Haas had said that Vodafone’s takeover of Liberty Global’s assets in Europe, which include Germany’s Unitymedia, “would mean the end of competition in the cable market and in the fixed broadband network”.
“We must not allow a quasi-monopolisation of important parts of the infrastructure, which is of decisive importance for the economic future of Germany, to take place,” Haas pointed out. Telefonica Deutschland called for the deal to be blocked “in the absence of appropriate and effective remedies”.
Reuters notes that the EU antitrust regulator, which has set a November 27 deadline for its review of the deal, can either clear it with or without concessions, or open a full-scale investigation if the companies fail to address its concerns.
Analysts on London-listed telecoms group
Credit Suisse, which rates Vodafone as a ‘buy,’ set a price target of 225p on the shares last week. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 229.48p.