5 April 2024

Mobile merger in the Netherlands unconditionally cleared

Following an in-depth investigation, on 21 March 2024 the Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM) in the Netherlands granted unconditional approval to KPN, a Mobile Network Operator (MNO), for the takeover of Youfone, a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). 

ACM focused part of its investigation on the competitive pressure exercised by Youfone on KPN in the provision mobile retail services in the Netherlands. Based on evidence of pricing behaviour, ACM found that despite the fast growth and maverick profile of Youfone, competition was not significantly reduced by the merger because of the presence of other MVNOs and MNO brands. 

Another area of concern by ACM was that, following the takeover of Youfone, KPN would worsen wholesale conditions to remaining MVNOs that purchase wholesale services from KPN. ACM found that because of the presence of two MNO wholesale alternatives to KPN, MVNOs kept sufficient bargaining power relative to KPN.  

Theon van Dijk and Laxshmi Dharmavasan from RBB’s Amsterdam office worked for Youfone alongside Bureau Brandeis and KPN’s advisors.

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