Vodafone (LON:VOD) is set to secure EU antitrust approval for its $22-billion deal with Liberty Global, Reuters has reported. The deal will see the FTSE 100 telco acquire Liberty Global’s operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, and challenge the dominant incumbent in Germany, Deutsche Telekom.
Vodafone’s share price rose in the previous session, gaining 1.22 percent to close at 125.76p. The stock outperformed the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index giving up 6.04 points to end trading 0.08 percent lower at 7,416.39. The shares have extended gains this morning, having climbed 0.59 percent to 126.50p as of 08:04 BST, compared with a 0.07-percent rise in the Footsie.
EU set to okay Liberty deal
Sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Vodafone was set to secure EU antitrust approval for its bid for Liberty Global’s cable networks in Germany and central Europe, having offered concessions last month. It reportedly offered to strengthen rival Telefonica Deutschland by giving it access to its merged high-speed broadband network after the European Commission said that the deal might reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic.
The proposal would allow Telefonica Deutschland to offer super-fast services over Vodafone and Liberty Global’s German subsidiary Unitymedia’s cable networks in Germany. Smaller rivals, however, have slammed the concessions as insufficient, raising the possibility of a legal challenge to the EU decision.
Decision scheduled for July 23
Reuters notes that the European antitrust regulator is scheduled to decide on the deal by July 23.
Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank trimmed its target on the Vodafone share price from 250p to 240p, while reaffirming its ‘buy’ rating on the shares, arguing that headwinds for the mobile giant were starting to ease.
Vodafone is set to update investors on its recent trading on July 25.