On 27 November 2018, the European Commission approved the merger between T-Mobile Netherlands and Tele2 Netherlands after a six months in-depth review process.
The parties are now allowed to close the transaction, creating a third integrated mobile/fixed operator in the Dutch market as challenger to the fixed/mobile incumbent KPN and mobile/cable operator VodafoneZiggo. The decision generates a lot of media attention because the Commission previously prohibited 4-to-3 mergers of mobile operators or required hefty concessions from the merging parties. Preparations for this transaction started roughly two years ago and the Bird & Bird team was involved from the beginning.
White & Case advised Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile Netherlands throughout the planning phase of the transaction and took the lead in the EU merger process including a Phase II investigation before the European Commission. Bird & Bird's competition law Partner Pauline Kuipers and communications-regulatory Senior Counsel Frank Simons in The Hague office, working with White & Case, provided assistance to T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom AG advising on competition and regulatory aspects relating to the Dutch market. Bird & Bird's Dutch team further comprised associates Peyma Sholeh and Annelot Kuiper.