UK infrastructure operator, Cellnex, received approval yesterday to complete a deal with Arqiva, sparking complaints that the acquisition would put competition at an unfair disadvantage.
Last October, Cellnex announced it had reached an agreement with Arqiva, a British telecommunications company, to acquire Arqiva’s telecoms division for an estimated $1.85 billion. The acquisition would transfer 7,400 masts, towers, and rooftop sites to Cellnex’s expanding portfolio.
As reported by Total Telecom, UK telecom operator, Three, spoke up in opposition of the merger claiming “the deal would give Cellnex control over 80% of the UK’s independent mobile sites,” making Cellnex “too big a player in the UK ecosystem.”
In a summary of CMA’s decision released yesterday, the authority said, “there will remain sufficient competition in the supply of access to small cell sites in the UK, such that any loss of constraint posed by Cellnex would not lead to a realistic prospect of an SLC. As a result, the CMA does not believe that it is or may be the case that the Merger may be expected to result in an SLC as a result of horizontal unilateral effects.”
Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez said, “The green light from the CMA is a crucial and decisive boost for the final closure of the acquisition of Arqiva’s Telecommunications division over the coming months and is aligned with the forecasts with which we were working when we announced the operation.”
“It provides a significant opportunity to support the extension of a mobile network fit to match the country’s ambitions,” he added. “We are ideally placed to bring our operational expertise and innovative approach to bear in a context where the Government and regulators are looking to encourage greater connectivity for all citizens and businesses through network development.”