March 4, 2020 / 11:16 PM / 5 months ago

Australia's competition regulator not to appeal Federal Court nod for TPG-Vodafone unit merger

FILE PHOTO: The Vodafone logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez /File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia’s competition regulator said on Thursday it would not appeal the Federal Court’s decision that the proposed merger between TPG Telecom (TPM.AX) and a unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group (VOD.L) would not substantially lessen competition.

Last month, an Australian court approved a A$15 billion ($10.1 billion) merger between the Vodafone unit and internet provider TPG, overruling the competition regulator.

The Federal Court judge then said a tie-up between Vodafone’s joint venture with local telco Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd (HTA.AX) and TPG would not harm competition, rejecting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) reason for blocking the deal last year.

The ACCC has now concluded that it does not have grounds for appeal, which would require the regulator to establish an error of law by the judge.

“The ACCC remains disappointed by this outcome, which has closed the door on what we consider was a once in a generation chance for increased competition in the highly concentrated mobile telecommunications market,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement.

“Despite this outcome, we will continue to oppose mergers that we believe will substantially lessen competition,” Sims added.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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