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Vodafone Hutchison Australia files legal challenge to TPG deal block

Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty. Ltd. on May 24 filed a claim with the Federal Court of Australia, seeking approval for its proposed merger with TPG Telecom Ltd.

"We believe the merger will create an entity that can compete more aggressively in the mobile market and will increase our ability to invest in networks, new technologies, and competitive plans and products for Australian consumers," a spokesperson for the Vodafone Group PLC unit said.

TPG threw its support behind Vodafone Hutchison Australia's appeal, saying the companies will also ask to expedite the proceedings.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has rejected the deal, maintaining earlier concerns that the transaction could "substantially lessen competition" in the mobile services segment. Following the decision, Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG agreed to extend the deal's target completion date to Aug. 31, 2020.

The two telecom operators struck a deal in August 2018 to combine their operations. Vodafone Group and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd. will each own a 25.05% economic interest in the merged entity, with the remaining 49.9% to be held by TPG.