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Vodafone's Joint Venture With Three Gets Conditional Approval From U.K. Government

By Najat Kantouar


The U.K. government approved a proposed joint venture between Vodafone Group and Three U.K., subject to a number of conditions it says are needed to safeguard networks and data in the interests of national security.

The U.K. Secretary of State said Thursday that the deal could go ahead if the companies set up a national security committee within the joint entity to oversee any sensitive work and monitor activities related to cyber, physical and personnel security.

To reduce any risks related to Vodafone's role as a strategic supplier of services to the government and the handling of sensitive data, the committee will be required to provide regular updates and information.

Last year, Vodafone and CK Hutchison Holdings--owner of Three--agreed to merge their U.K. operations, in a deal valuing the new business at more than GBP7 billion. Vodafone would own 51% of the combined business with Hong Kong-listed CK Hutchinson owning the rest.

However, the U.K. competition regulator said earlier this year that the deal could lead to higher prices for customers and affect investment in U.K. mobile networks, leaving consumers and businesses worse off.

The companies are still awaiting a decision from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is working to a September deadline for its probe.

"We are continuing to engage collaboratively with the Competition and Markets Authority to inform its ongoing review of our merger, which we strongly believe will strengthen competition in the UK's mobile sector and enable a significant step-up in the UK's mobile network infrastructure," Vodafone and Three UK said.


Write to Najat Kantouar at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 10, 2024 12:21 ET (16:21 GMT)

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