BT’s £12.5 billion EE acquisition set for final approval this week

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Reports claim the CMA will rubber stamp BT’s takeover, despite complaints from rival operators

The Competition and Markets Authority is set to give final approval to BT’s bid to buy EE this week, despite opposition from rivals including Sky and TalkTalk.

The Sunday Times claims the CMA will rubber-stamp the £12.5 billion acquisition later this week, combining the UK’s biggest fixed line provider with the biggest mobile operator.

BT announced plans to buy EE in January 2015, and received initial approval for the bid in November, with the CMA claiming the move would not result in a”substantial lessening of competition”.

The move has been criticised by BT’s broadband rivals including Sky and TalkTalk, who claim the incumbent must be separated from infrastructure arm Openreach or forced to give other concessions to maintain a competitive market.

Part of the deal will see EE co-owner Deutsche Telekom become the largest shareholder in BT with a 12 per cent stake.

BT chairman Sir Mike Rake told the Financial Times this could lead to further joint ventures or strategic partnerships with the German operator.

“We continue to look [at] what is out there,” Rake told the FT. “The company’s covenant is much stronger than it was, our pension deficit is manageable, and we will be in a strong position to continue to look at the opportunities carefully.”

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