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Australian court approves USD10 billion Vodafone TPG merger

Christian Fernsby |
Two of Australia's largest telecommunications firms appear set to merge, after a court ruled yesterday that the multi billion dollar deal between Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG Telecom Ltd would not pose a major threat to competition.

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Vodafone Hutchison Australia is a joint venture between FTSE 100 listed Vodafone Group PLC and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had blocked an attempted AUD15 billion, about USD10 billion merger between the country's third and fourth largest telecommunications companies, Vodafone and TPG.

The ACCC said it believed the smaller firm could have become an "innovative and disruptive" mobile phone provider in the country's concentrated market, which is dominated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australia.

But in a case brought against the ACCC by Vodafone which would have the majority stake in the merger Federal Court judge John Middleton ruled in the company's favour.

"The court has come to the view that the proposed merger would not have the effect, or be likely to have the effect of substantially reducing competition...the merger can proceed," public broadcaster ABC reported him as saying.

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