Ronan Dunne expects EC to decide on O2/Three merger on May 19

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The O2 CEO claims the operator is in “great shape” even if Brussels rejects CK Hutchison’s £10.25 billion takeover bid

O2 CEO Ronan Dunne admits there has been a “change in the mood of the music” around the Three/O2 merger, with Brussels set to reject the deal later this month.

The O2 boss said the operator expects the European Commission to vote on CK Hutchison’s £10.25 billion bid to buy the operator from Telefonica on or around May 19 – bringing an end to 15 month’s worth of negotiations to drive through the deal.

Speaking to Mobile News following O2’s latest financial results, Dunne, who is set to leave O2 if the deal is approved, said: “I’d step back and say the music seems to have changed in Brussels. We won’t know until the Commission votes on it on or around the 19th of May.

“The key thing we’ve been focussed on the last 18 months since the deal was announced, is that we’d make O2 impossible to ignore so we’d have O2 in the best possible shape that we could. Whatever happens in May, the business is in great shape.”

His words came after further doubt was cast on the deal. Reports last month said Three-owner Hutch had failed to assuage fears from European Commission Margethe Vestager about the impact of reducing the number of mobile operators active int he UK from four to three.

Remedies offered by the Hong Kong-based giant include a five year price freeze and agreements to give up 30 per cent of combined spectrum if a deal is approved.

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