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BT gets the green light to buy EE for £12.5 billion

BT and EE still need to agree final terms before it's a done deal.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
01.15.16 in Mobile

In the 11 months since BT confirmed it was buying EE, the UK's biggest carrier, the two companies have waited on the approval of regulators that need to make sure their union won't stifle competition. It took almost eight months for the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to provisionally give the deal the thumbs-up, but today BT has finally received the final rubber stamp it has been craving.

In its investigation, the CMA looked at potential issues raised by rivals, which included TalkTalk, Vodafone and other major UK providers. It believes they would "not result in a substantial lessening of competition" in any of the markets that BT and EE operate in, including retail mobile, wholesale mobile, mobile backhaul, wholesale broadband and retail broadband services.

The regulator believes that BT's minor foray into mobile services would not change the market significantly if it was utilized by EE, nor would BT affect competition if it took control of EE's small share of the broadband market. It did also note conflicts of interest regarding Openreach, but the CMA says it's more than happy to defer to communications regulator Ofcom, which is currently looking into the possible regulation of BT and its broadband arm.

With all of the regulatory boxes ticked, BT and EE will now discuss the final terms of the deal before signing the papers. Sources have indicated to Engadget that confirmation of the acquisition is likely to be issued at the start of next month, making way for the owner of Three UK to run a similar gauntlet in its bid to acquire Telefonica's O2.

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