The Commission says the Patrick Drahi vehicle is said to have implemented its acquisition of the telco before notification or approval by the Commission.
“Companies that jump the gun and implement mergers before notification or clearance undermine the effectiveness of our merger control system,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy. “This is the system that protects European consumers from any merger that would lead to higher prices or reduced choice. The fine imposed by the Commission on Altice today reflects the seriousness of the infringement and should deter other firms from breaking EU merger control rules”.
Altice argues that the Commission’s decision cannot be compared with the French Numéricable/SFR/Virgin acquisition where Altice agreed not to challenge the allegations brought against it.
It says the decision would have serious consequences for European companies and sets a precedent, which will have an impact on future M&A transactions in Europe.