May 18, 2017 / 6:52 AM / a year ago

EU charges Altice of taking control of PT Portugal before approval

BRUSSELS, May 18 (Reuters) - The European Commission alleged on Thursday that telecoms group Altice had breached EU rules by implementing its acquisition of PT Portugal before notification or approval by EU antitrust regulators.

Altice agreed a deal in Dec. 2014 with Oi, the Brazilian operator controlling PT Portugal, to acquire sole control of the Portuguese telecoms company.

Altice notified the Commission in Feb. 2015 of its plans and the Commission cleared the transaction with conditions in April 2015.

“In today’s Statement of Objections, the Commission takes the preliminary view that Altice actually implemented the acquisition prior to the adoption of the Commission’s clearance decision, and in some instances, prior to its notification,” the Commission said in a statement.

It added that the purchase agreement put Altice in a position to exercise influence over PT Portugal before notification and clearance.

If the Commission were to conclude that Altice did implement the transaction too early it could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of Altice’s annual worldwide turnover.

The Commission added the investigation did not reverse its approval of the transaction. (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop)

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