CCP time-scale: PTCL Acquisition of Telenor

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, MAY 18: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) is currently conducting a Phase II review of the proposed acquisition of Telenor Pakistan by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). This crucial review will determine whether the merger is approved and what conditions may be imposed to ensure competitive fairness in the market.

PTCL filed pre-merger application on 6th March 2024. CCP had 30 days to review the application and issue a Phase I order, according to its law. Phase 1 order was announced on 3rd May 2024 within the timescale specified in the competition law. Phase-I order analysed that there may be some potential impact on competition in telecom sector therefore, pre-merger application will be considered in Phase II review. CCP has 90 days to complete this detailed review and issue its order.

A Phase II review involves an in-depth investigation into the merger’s potential impact on market competition. This stage is initiated when preliminary findings suggest that the merger could restrict competition in the telecom sector.

Currently, CCP is conducting extensive analysis, collecting detailed data, market participant responses through comprehensive questionnaires, and comments from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). CCP will also evaluate efficiencies claimed by the merging entities, which must be beneficial to consumers.

The possible outcome of a Phase II review is often “conditional” approval. Historically, CCP has approved mergers with some structural and behavioural modification with some conditions attached to mitigate anti-competitive effects and to protect consumers from abuse of dominant position.

Pakistan operates a mandatory, suspensory merger control regime, meaning any merger meeting the notification requirements must be reviewed and approved by the antitrust agency before it can be finalized. Non-compliance can result in significant fines, remedies, or the transaction being deemed void.