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Competition authority taking extra time to investigate Elisa-Starman merger

Finnish-owned telecommunications company Elisa announced its buyout of television and internet provider Starman Estonia in December, however the Estonian Competition Authority, which has extended its investigation period beyond the initial 30 days in order to more thoroughly examine the situation, has yet to approve the transaction.

Svetlana Ljutova, director of the Estonian Competition Authority’s Merger Control Department, told ERR that the decision to initiate an additional procedure was made on Friday.

"The thing is that this market itself is simply very concentrated and we must take a closer look at the competitive situation on the market," Ljutova explained.

She noted that they have a maximum of four months to complete their procedure, adding that it was currently difficult to predict how long it would actually take but that the competition authority wanted to examine the situation more thoroughly.

Elisa announced in December that it bought the full ownership of Starman Estonia for 151 million euros.

Should the transaction be approved, Telia will be joined on the Estonian market by yet another company offering broadband internet, mobile phone operator as well as television services.

According to Technical Regulatory Authority data, Telia’s market share in the mobile network sector was approximately 40 percent and Elisa’s approximately 33 percent in the third quarter of 2016, making up a total of 73 percent of the mobile network operator market. The numbers were similar in the broadband internet sector, with Telia accounting for nearly 34 and Elisa for 40 percent of the market, making for a combined market share of nearly 74 percent.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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