CK Hutchison / Telefonica Europe (O2 UK) merger

The European Commission has blocked CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd's (CKHH) proposed acquisition of Telefonica Europe plc (O2 UK).

11 May 2016: See the European Commission’s press release for further information on its decision.

CMA timetable

Date Action
14 December 2015 Deadline for European Commission to decide on CMA request
2 October 2015 CMA request for referral made
24 September 2015 Deadline for comments
16 September 2015 Invitation to comment issued

CMA letter to European Commission

11 April 2016: The CMA has written to the European Commission setting out its concerns about the proposed merger between Hutchison 3G UK and Telefonica UK.

European Commission decides not to refer case to CMA

4 December 2015: The CMA has had extensive, constructive engagement with the Commission on this case and fully expects this co-operation to continue and increase now that the case remains with the Commission. In particular, the CMA intends to make representations on the competition impact of the merger in the UK as well as on any potential remedy proposals made by the parties.

CMA request for referral

2 October 2015: The CMA has made a request to the European Commission to refer Hutchison’s proposed acquisition of Telefonica Europe plc to the CMA for investigation.

Invitation to comment: Now closed

16 September 2015: This invitation to comment concerns the anticipated acquisition by CKHH of O2 UK which has been notified to the European Commission (Commission) by way of a Form CO dated 11 September 2015 (the Proposed Merger).

CKHH also owns Hutchinson 3G UK Limited (Three), a mobile network operator (MNO) in the UK. Three is the most recent MNO entrant on the UK market, and launched its commercial operations on 3 March 2003 with a 2100 MHz 3G network.

O2 UK is active as an MNO in the UK offers mobile communications services such as voice, SMS, MMS, mobile internet and mobile broadband services. O2 UK operates a 900 MHz and 1800 MHz 2G network, a 900 MHz and 2100 MHz 3G network and a 800 MHz 4G network. O2 UK also offers retail fixed broadband to business customers and is a provider of Wi-Fi services.

Following completion of the Proposed Merger, Three and O2 UK (together, the Parties) would be run as a combined business.

The Proposed Merger meets the thresholds for review under Council Regulation 139/2004/EU (EUMR) and has therefore been notified to the Commission. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether the Proposed Merger (i) qualifies for a request to be made under Article 9 of the EUMR to have it referred to the United Kingdom authorities; and if so, (ii) whether it would be appropriate for the CMA to make a request under Article 9 of the ECMR for the Proposed Merger to be referred in whole or in part to the United Kingdom authorities.

If any such request were made by the UK and the Commission decided to grant such a request, the CMA would examine the Proposed Merger further with a view to deciding whether or not it should be referred for an in-depth investigation under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.

The CMA seeks views on: (i) the appropriateness of the Proposed Merger being referred to the CMA for investigation; and (ii) whether the Proposed Merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market(s) in the UK.


Please send written representations about any competition or public interest to:

Cleo Alliston
Competition and Markets Authority
Victoria House
Southampton Row

Published 16 September 2015
Last updated 11 May 2016 + show all updates
  1. Update added.
  2. CMA letter to European Commission setting out its concerns about the proposed merger published.
  3. First published.