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EU probes Spanish-Portuguese telecoms ‘deal’

European Union competition authorities launched Monday a formal investigation into Spanish and Portuguese telecoms providers Telefonica and Portugal Telecom.

The European Commission has made the case a “priority” amid concerns that the two companies “have breached EU rules by agreeing not to compete with each other in their respective home markets,” a statement said.

Inspectors are probing an agreement concluded last year when former state provider Telefonica acquired sole control over the pair’s previously-held Brazilian joint venture Vivo.

“The commission will also investigate whether the non-compete agreement pre-dates the Vivo deal, which is not concerned by this probe,” the statement spelled out, stressing that the opening of antitrust proceedings does not prejudge the outcome.