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LG U+, CJ Hello merger gets clearance from Korean government

The 800 billion won merger of LG U+ and CJ Hello received the final approval needed to complete the combination of the mobile carrier and the cable TV operator, The Korea Herald's The Investor reported.

South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT on Dec. 15, gave a conditional nod to LG U+'s proposed acquisition of a majority stake in CJ Hello, a transaction that will help LG U+ boost its share of the local pay TV market. Following deal completion, LG U+ will become the second-biggest pay TV service provider in Korea with a market share of around 25%.

Under the terms of the conditional approval, LG U+ is required to offer 5G and LTE services to local mobile virtual network operators and support companies that plan to sell affordable data plans. The company is also barred from discriminating against virtual operators and must not force existing users of CJ Hello's cheaper services to switch to more expensive data options.

LG U+ will be closely watched by regulators to prevent it from using its dominant market position to impose unfair conditions on program providers. Failure to meet the requirements will result in administrative action, fines, restrictions on advertisements and a re-evaluation of the deal approval.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission gave its conditional consent to the deal in November.

As of Dec. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 1,179.66 South Korean won.