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A new research report which analyses more than 30 recent mergers and acquisitions in the telecoms industry highlights the increasing attention regulators are paying to the nitty gritty of deals to try and ensure competition does not suffer as the number of players shrinks.

Sacrifices at the Regulatory Altar, just published by telecoms consultancy TechPolis, notes there have been few deals blocked outright by competition commissioners and telecoms regulators – only in the US and Taiwan in fact – but it is harder to get deals through without the participants having to pay a pound (or several pounds) of flesh.

The most regulatory resistance comes when the number of mobile operators in a single national market will be reduced from four to three by the proposed merger or acquisition. Three recent deals in Europe are cases in point, where national authorities were keen on keeping four mobile operators but were overridden by the Commissioners in Brussels, and...

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