[NMa] The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has approved the acquisition of Dutch mobile-phone retail chain BelCompany by telecom provider Vodafone under the condition that, from January 1, 2012, at the latest, Vodafone will no longer sell any mobile-phone plans of its competitors KPN and T-Mobile in the BelCompany stores or in its own stores. During the transitional period until then, BelCompany’s management is to be kept at arm’s length from Vodafone. At the same time, Vodafone cannot sell its plans through stores owned by KPN or T-Mobile. The NMa has attached these conditions to the acquisition in order to prevent Vodafone, KPN and T-Mobile from getting the opportunity to harmonize their commercial strategies through their stores. ‘We all know that, if that were to happen, consumers would get the short end of the stick, because they would end up paying too much. Competition would be reduced, and that is exactly what we are trying to prevent from happening with these conditions,’ Henk Don, member of the Board of the NMa, explains.
BelCompany, which, at the moment, is still an independent chain of retail stores, has locations all across the Netherlands, selling mobile-phone plans to consumers. After the acquisition, Vodafone will own these stores. An NMa investigation has revealed that, if the NMa conditions are met, consumers will continue to have enough choice after the acquisition.
NMa conditionally approves acquisition of mobile-phone retail chain BelCompany by Vodafone