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Merging incumbent European mobile operators: veni, vidi, non vici

Curwen, P.J. and Whalley, J.L. (2009) Merging incumbent European mobile operators: veni, vidi, non vici. Info: The Journal of Policy, Regulation and Strategy for Telecommunications, 11 (4). pp. 34-52. ISSN 1463-6697

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The purpose of this paper is to analyse the history of, and prospects for, mergers between incumbent European mobile operators. The paper examines the history of proposals for mergers among incumbent mobile operators in Europe over the past two decades, but with a particular emphasis upon the period commencing in 2006. It examines the rationale for the proposals and analyses why, in virtually every case, the proposals failed to come to fruition. The paper argues that there are a set of road blocks that bar the way to realising inter-incumbent mergers, and that these are by no means all economic. Given that the environment for M&A activity was relatively positive during 2006/2007, yet nothing much was achieved, it now seems likely that in the febrile environment of the 2008/2009 credit crunch, the topic will return to the backburner. This paper is the first detailed attempt to address this topic.