The sale of Virgin Media for $23bn to US firm Liberty Global has been approved by the European Commission (EC).
The deal was announced back in February and will create a major new player in the UK’s digital media and telecoms space, with Liberty bring its global clout to the UK market to pose a new challenge to Sky and BT’s dominance in TV and broadband markets.
On Monday evening, the EC confirmed the deal had been given the go ahead, having concluded there were no competition concerns it could see, particularly in the TV market.
“It is unlikely that the merged entity would shut out competing TV channel broadcasters from access to the retail Pay TV market, given the number of alternative distribution platforms to Virgin Media’s cable network,” it said.
“The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns. The transaction was notified to the Commission on 6 March 2013.”
A Liberty Global spokesperson confirmed the deal had been approved and was now set for shareholders to approve.
"The transaction is still subject to majority approval from both companies’ shareholders. The respective shareholder meetings, as well as the closing of the transaction, are expected to occur in the second quarter of 2013," they said.
The deal, once finalised, will likely see the Virgin Media brand ditched and replaced by Liberty, and the firm focus on boosting both pay TV and broadband uptake to try and boost its market share.
Liberty already has a strong presence in Europe and analysts have argued it could become a top player in the market.
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