European Commission to launch full-fleged antitrust probe into Telia’s bid for Bonnier Broadcasting

The development is politically sensitive given that the Swedish government has a 37% stake in Telia.

According to two sources familiar with the matter at hand, Nordic telecoms operator Telia’s nearly $1 billion bid for Bonnier Broadcasting is facing a full-scale antitrust investigation by the European Commission.

The investigation comes in the wake of Telia failing to address competition concerns, said sources.

In July 2018, Telia had announced its $954 million (9.2 billion Swedish crowns) bid to acquire Bonnier Broadcasting as it wanted to expand its media business in the wake of consumers changing their television viewing habits.

Owned by a prominent Swedish family, Bonnier’s brands include Sweden’s biggest commercial broadcaster, TV4, and streaming service C More and Finnish MTV. It competes with state broadcaster SVT.

Although Telia offered concessions to the European Commission in April this year, they were too little to allay regulatory concerns, said sources.

The European Commission as well as Telia declined comment.

The European Commission is likely to formally announce the opening of its in-depth investigation into Telia’s bid on Friday, said sources while adding the competition authority would have 90 days to examine the deal.

The deal is politically sensitive since the Swedish government has a 37% stake in Telia.

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