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EC to probe 3 Italia-WIND deal

The European Commission said March 30 that it launched anin-depth investigation into the proposed joint between 's 3 Italiaand VimpelCom Ltd.'sWIND Telecomunicazioni SpA.

The commission will look into the extent of competitionbetween 3 Italia and WIND, the joint venture's potential gains and the possibleresponse of its competitors.

The EC expressed concerns that the deal could result inhigher prices, fewer options and reduced innovation for mobile customers.

The commission has 90 working days until August 10 to decideon the transaction.

Earlier reports said that an Italian antitrust watchdogwanted to take overthe review of the 3 Italia-WIND deal.

The EC is also reviewingthe proposed acquisition of TelefónicaSA's O2 by another Hutchison unit, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd.