Orange and T-Mobile merger given EU green light

The union between mobile giants Orange and T-Mobile has been given the go ahead by European regulators.

EC flag

Mobile heavyweights Orange and T-Mobile have been cleared by European regulators to go ahead with their proposed merger - one that will result in a combined UK customer base of just short of 30 million users.

The two companies will start integration efforts with immediate effect, with the merger expected to be completed by the Spring.

"We are delighted to receive the EU clearance on our project to create a joint venture with Deutsche Telekom in the United Kingdom," said Gervais Pellissier, deputy chief executive and chief financial offers of Orange's parent company France Telecom, in a statement.

"This clearance will allow us to create a strong operator and to offer high-quality network and services to our customers. By drawing on the resources of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, and on an experienced management and staff in the United Kingdom, we are confident that we will leverage on identified synergies and generate significant value for our shareholders."

Such synergies include savings of some 3.5 billion, according to the two companies, who have also committed to leaving the Orange and T-Mobile brands to co-exist for at least 18 months.

"This is excellent news, for our customers, for our highly committed teams in the UK and for our shareholders. Now the way is clear for pooling our resources to create an outstanding high-speed mobile broadband network in one of the most competitive markets in Europe," said Tim Httges, Deutsche Telekom's chief financial officer, who will lead the board as a non-executive chairman for the first two years of following the new company's birth. After that time, Pellissier will take the helm for two years.

Httges added: "This joint venture company is based on a significant potential of synergies which create substantial value for the two shareholders and translate directly into customer benefits. Our teams in the UK will be rolling up their sleeves to roll out these benefits."

Orange UK chief executive Tom Alexander will head up the new company, assisted by current T-Mobile chief executive Richard Moat, who will serve as the company's chief operating officer.

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