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BT says EE takeover will be 'good for consumers'

Monday, May 18th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

BT’s proposed £12.5bn takeover of EE will be good for consumers, according to its CEO.

Gavin Patterson said the acquisition would allow BT to “invest and innovate even more than now”.

He was speaking as BT made a formal submission to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The purchase was given a thumbs-up by BT shareholders at the start of the month, with 99.55% voting in favour of the takeover.

BT is looking to complete the deal by March 2016 but can only do so if it is approved by the CMA.

Central to BT's argument is its insistence that the acquisition will not reduce competition in either the fixed broadband or mobile markets.

The company says it will, in fact, enhance competition with the number of UK mobile network operators remaining at four.

It says the ability of its rivals to compete by using the network operated by Openreach will be unaffected while consumers will have more choice because BT will be able to offer bundled broadband, TV, landline and mobile services.

The move would see BT join the likes of Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky as a ‘quad play’ provider – a company which can offer consumers internet, TV, fixed line and mobile phone services in one place.

'Good for jobs'

BT Group CEO Mr Patterson said: “BT’s acquisition of EE will be good for consumers, businesses and UK plc, as well as for BT shareholders, so we are keen to get regulatory clearance.

“A larger BT will be able to invest and innovate even more than now, something that’s good for jobs and good for customers.

“The acquisition will lead to greater competition, given our history as a natural and willing wholesaler, enabling other companies to use the networks we own.”

Mr Patterson said BT provides wholesale access to its network to companies in the broadband market and would also be “happy to support others who wish to compete in the mobile market”.

“The UK is one of the most tightly regulated marketplaces in the world and that will continue to be the case ensuring all companies can compete on a fair basis,” he added.

The CMA confirmed it has launched its investigation into the deal. If the authority decides to ‘fast track’ the process – as has been requested by BT and EE – it is expected to reach a decision within three weeks.

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