The acquisition of Edpnet by Proximus is not yet complete. The Belgian competition authority is launching an investigation into possible abuse of power.
Yesterday Proximus announced the takeover of the independent telecommunications provider Edpnet. The Dendermonde company court, where Edpnet was under bankruptcy protection, approved a takeover bid of 20.5 million euros. But the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has launched an investigation that could put an end to this.
The investigation concerns a possible abuse of power by Proximus during the takeover. Proximus would have had a significant advantage as Edpnet leveraged its infrastructure. The takeover would also significantly restrict free competition in the market. This fear has already been expressed by Test Aankoop. Customers don’t seem to be happy with the way things are going either.
A stick between the wheels?
In principle, Proximus did not have to obtain approval from the BMA in view of the turnover and the extraordinary legal situation of Edpnet. Nevertheless, the investigation could have consequences for the continuation of the deal. If the authority confirms its suspicion of abuse of power, it can still block the deal. “A ban does not necessarily mean the end for Edpnet. There were a number of very good other applications,” Auditor General Damien Gerard told HLN.
Of course, Proximus itself is convinced that the deal is compatible with all applicable competition rules. The telecommunications company therefore says it will cooperate with the investigation. The telecom provider once again emphasizes that it wants to keep Edpnet’s status as an independent provider.
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