Brussels, 28th November 2006
Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of AOL’s German internet access business by Telecom Italia
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the German internet access business of AOL LLC by Telecom Italia S.p.A.. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Telecom Italia is the parent company of the Telecom Italia Group, which is active in Italy and in the rest of the world in the telecommunications sector, and in particular in voice telephony, mobile services and data transmission services (including dedicated transmission capacity and access to Internet networks as well as satellite communication services). In Germany, Telecom Italia is active in the telecommunications sector, and in particular in residential broadband access and voice telephony, through its wholly owned subsidiary HanseNet Telekommunication GmbH.
AOL provides online interactive services through a number of brands (for example AOL, MapQuest, AIM, Moviefone, ICQ, and Netscape) as well as Internet access services in the US and Europe. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., a worldwide media and entertainment company. In Germany, AOL provides Internet access, both narrowband and broadband, and other Internet related services, which are currently carried out through AOL Services Germany GmbH and a number of operational companies directly or indirectly controlled by the group’s European holding, AOL Europe Sarl.
The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that
the horizontal overlaps between the activities of Telecom Italia and AOL in
Germany (i.e. broadband and narrowband internet access services) are limited and
that the combined firm would continue to face a number of strong, effective
competitors, notably the incumbent Deutsche Telekom.