UK approves £31B merger between Virgin Media and mobile network O2
Following a lengthy and in-depth investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) starting in May of 2020, the merger between Virgin Media and O2 has been approved. Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schüler will take the role of CEO at Virgin Media O2, while O2’s CFO, Patricia Cobian, will also take on the role of CFO. The two companies combined will have 47 million subscribers across broadband, mobile, TV, and home phone.
Martin Coleman, CMA panel inquiry chair, said: “O2 and Virgin are important suppliers of services to other companies who serve millions of consumers. It was important to make sure that this merger would not leave these people worse off. That’s why we conducted an in-depth investigation.”
“After looking closely at the deal, we are reassured that competition amongst mobile communications providers will remain strong and it is therefore unlikely that the merger would lead to higher prices or lower quality services.”
Previously, Virgin Media operated as a broadband provider, TV provider, and as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or an MVNO. This means that they use another company’s network infrastructure to provide its services. In Virgin Media’s case, it signed a 5-year deal with Vodafone to provide its mobile services, ending a decades-long partnership with the BT-owned EE at the time. It is unknown whether or not Virgin Media will continue to fulfill its Vodafone partnership.
If you already use O2’s or Virgin Media’s services, then you’re unlikely to notice any differences in the immediate future. However, going forward, it’s likely that there will be all-inclusive deals that the company will roll out to customers.
“While there is no change to existing services today, plans are well underway to offer seamless broadband, entertainment and mobile services all in one place, under one roof, later this year,” the company said in a statement.
“Through a dedicated function, business and public sector customers are set to benefit from a richer suite of products and collective expertise from Virgin Media O2 Business. This includes a variety of managed connectivity services and flexible working capabilities, security, data insight, 5G private networks and cloud solutions, as well as wholesale services to other operators and partners.”