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EC blocks Three-O2 deal in UK

Europe'shighest antitrust watchdog, the European Commission, announced May 11 that ithas blockedCK Hutchison HoldingsLtd.'s proposed acquisition of Telefónica SA's U.K. unit O2.

The ECsaid it had "strong concerns that consumers would have had less choicefinding a mobile package that suits their needs and paid more than without thedeal."

EUCompetition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also tweeted thatthe deal would have hampered innovation and the development of networkinfrastructure in the U.K.

Hutchison's proposed concessions under which the companystruck network capacity deals with several U.K. providers failed to convincethe EC. Instead, the regulator preferred that the company launched a fourthBritish mobile network operator. The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authorityhad also been pushingfor a fourth MNO in the country. Hutchison reportedly said earlier it plans toappeal any EU veto.

Hutchison had been trying to gain approval for its proposedtakeover of O2 sinceSeptember 2015.