Altice, via its SFR FTTH branch, entered into exclusive negotiations a year ago to acquire 100% of the wholesale operator Covage.
The Association of Alternative Telecom Operators was quick to express its concern, because this merger was not "without raising profound questions about the preservation of an already fragile competitive intensity in the business and local authority market".
The European Commission "has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Covage by SFR FTTH, a company jointly controlled by Altice, Allianz and Omers. The clearance is subject to full compliance with a series of commitments offered".
Two commitments are made by SFR FTTH:
- "The sale to a suitable purchaser of 25 subsidiaries and assets corresponding to Covage's "optical local loop"" business in the territory of 30 public institutions. These subsidiaries and assets consist of FttO networks and represent in total approximately 95% of Covage's FttO business.
- "The offer of a transitional service contract, including access to all assets and services required to operate the divested business under competitive conditions for a period of time allowing SFR FTTH to become fully independent".
In conclusion, the Commission states that "the final commitments address the competition concerns identified by the Commission with respect to the acquisition of Covage by SFR FTTH and have been substantially improved following comments provided by market participants. The Commission has therefore concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, no longer raises competition concerns".
Source : Next Inpact