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Commission approves Telering sale in Europe.

The European Commission has approved Alltel Corp.'s sale of Telering, an Austrian wireless company that was a subsidiary of Western Wireless, which Alltel bought last year.

The $1.6 billion deal will put Telering under T-Mobile Austria, owned by Deutsche Telekom, Europe's largest integrated phone carrier.

The commission approved the deal on the condition that Deutsche Telekom's smaller rivals have a chance to buy Telering's rivals.

The sale has been cooking since late last year, when the commission said its initial market investigation found that a merger between T-Mobile Austria and Telering "may create significant competition problems." The commission extended its review of the sale, and later Alltel and T-Mobile extended their sales agreement to accommodate the review.

The sale gives T-Mobile more than 35 percent of Austria's consumer wireless business. T-Mobile currently has the second-largest market share in the country among five competitors. Mobilcom is first with about a 42 percent market share.

Alltel still has former Western Wireless properties in Haiti and Bolivia that are on the block. Last year, Alltel valued those international assets, along with some domestic assets it planned to sell, at $2.7 billion.
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Author:Turner, Lancer
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:May 1, 2006
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