Europe just blocked a £10.5 billion deal to create the largest mobile operator in the UK

The European Commission is blocking CK Hutchison’s plan to take over Telefonica’s O2 in the UK.

Hutchison agreed to acquire O2 a year ago and merge it with Three, its own UK business. The telco deal was valued at £10.5 billion.

The deal would have created the largest mobile operator in the UK and Hutchison argued that it was necessary to ensure there was a company that could compete with BT after it bought EE last year for £12.5 billion.

But Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, has taken a more cynical view, saying it would reduce the number of major UK mobile operators from four to three.

She tweeted that the deal had been blocked in the interests of UK consumers on Wednesday, adding that it will ensure affordable prices and innovation.

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