European Commission clears Syniverse’s acquisition of MACH, subject to conditions

On 29 May 2013 the European Commission issued a press release approving the proposed acquisition of Mach by U.S.-based Syniverse, subject to some of Mach’s assets being divested in order to ensure that the merger will not have anticompetitive effects within the European Economic Area, notably that the merger does not hamper the smooth functioning of wholesale roaming services through an increase in price or a decrease in quality.

The Commission was concerned that without divestiture, the merger would allow the top two providers of mobile phone roaming services to merge into one entity, essentially creating a monopoly. The Commission was also concerned with a possible increase in prices or a decrease in the quality of the service provided.

In particular, the merger has been cleared subject to the divestiture of Mach’s Data Clearing services and Near Trade Roaming Data Exchange, which are services that consumers use on their mobile phones when travelling abroad. In order to maintain competition in the Data Clearing House market, Mach’s assets are to be sold to viable competitors that will ensure the development of the divested activities at a global level, and thus preserve competition in the market.

The Commission was previously able to clear Syniverse’s acquisition of BSG, the third largest Data Clearing House, because Mach was still a strong competitor. [Anthony Reda]