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Orange Belgium’s VOO Acquisition: Balancing Market Power and Competition Concerns

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The Belgian division of telco group Orange has completed its acquisition of regional quad-play services operator VOO, after a thorough competition investigation. This deal grants Orange Belgium a 75% stake minus one share in VOO, while Nethys retains the remaining 25% plus one share. With a transaction value of €1.8 billion for 100% of the capital, Orange Belgium will finance it through an intra-Group loan.

Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium, expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition by stating, “For decades, we developed our telecom skills and pioneering spirit to challenge the market, but as from today, we have the industrial power, tech means and commercial scale to accelerate and lead the future of the Belgian telco market in the interest of all consumers, employees and society in general.”

Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, CEO Orange Europe, emphasized the importance of convergence in Europe and highlighted that the acquisition of VOO demonstrates how Orange’s new strategy, “Lead the Future,” will continue to meet the digital needs that customers in Europe demand.

The deal was initially proposed in late 2021, but the European Commission expressed concerns regarding the reduction of operators in areas covered by VOO and Brutélé’s own fixed networks. Additionally, they feared that it would reduce competition in the fixed Internet, audio-visual, and multi-play markets, and lower retail price competition in the affected markets.

To address these regulatory concerns, Orange agreed to grant Liberty Global’s Telenet access to the existing fixed network infrastructure it would acquire from VOO and Brutélé in the Walloon region and parts of Brussels. Orange also consented to extend the access to its future FTTP network for at least ten years. Consequently, the European Commission approved the acquisition in March after an extensive investigation.

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