Hutchison 3G / Telefónica Ireland Phase II Merger Cleared by European Commission

In May 2014, the European Commission cleared the acquisition by Hutchison 3G of Telefónica Ireland, subject to remedies, after a Phase II investigation. The transaction combined two of the four mobile communications network operators (“MNOs”) in the Irish market. The remedies involved commitments to (i) ensure the entry of two mobile virtual network operators with an option for one of them to become a full MNO by acquiring spectrum from the merged entity; and (ii) the continuation of a network sharing agreement originally in place between Telefónica Ireland and Eircom, on improved terms for the latter.

Compass Lexecon supported Hutchison 3G and its legal advisers during the investigation. Compass Lexecon submitted a number of economic analyses to the Commission, including a price concentration study, critical assessments of the Commission’s merger simulation analyses, and several analyses assessing the efficiencies of the merger (for example, investment incentives and faster roll-out of 4G services). The Compass Lexecon team, including Jorge Padilla, Thilo Klein, Nadine Watson, Elena Zoido and Stefano Trento, worked with Thomas Wessely and Sascha Schubert of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.