EU antitrust body issues formal objections to Telefonica's proposed $11.7 billion German buy

BRUSSELS – The European Union’s antitrust authority has formally outlined concerns that Telefonica’s proposed 8.55 billion-euro ($11.7 billion) purchase of German mobile operator E-Plus may violate competition rules.

EU Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani said Thursday a confidential letter detailing the competition concerns has been sent to the companies involved.

He says the so-called statement of objections will allow Telefonica to outline how it expects to address the concerns.

The Commission, which acts as the 28-nation bloc’s antitrust authority, will decide by mid-May whether to allow the takeover bid.

Telefonica agreed to purchase the German E-Plus business from Dutch telecommunications company Royal KPN NV in August, after winning the support of KPN’s biggest shareholder, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Telefonica plans to merge E-Plus with its own German arm.