Vestager leaves EU competitors job as M&A call looms



The European Union’s competitors commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) is taking a short lived depart of absence to pursue a prime place on the European Funding Financial institution.

EU president Ursula von der Leyen granted Vestager, EVP for the European Fee, a interval of unpaid depart to allow her to function the Danish authorities’s candidate for the place of President of the Administration Committee of the EIB, Brussels introduced earlier this week.

In her absence, which is able to seemingly final for a matter of weeks, her duties will probably be cut up 3 ways. Her digital function, main what the Fee has dubbed ‘A Europe Match for the digital age,’ will go to Values and Transparency VP Vera Jourová, whereas Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders turns into Competitors chief. Much less notably, the Innovation and Analysis portfolio Vestager took on on a short lived foundation after the resignation of Mariya Gabriel in Could passes to Margaritis Schinas for now.

As of right now, I’m formally a candidate for the presidency of the #EuropeanInvestmentBank. I’m taking depart from the @EU_Commission to give attention to my candidacy till the appointment is made. @EIB 🇪🇺

— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) September 5, 2023

Naturally, if you happen to’re a telco hack, not less than, all ideas flip instantly to M&A coverage within the trade, particularly quite a few ongoing high-profile merger bids. Vestager’s bid to guide the EIB – a job she stands an honest probability of getting, though she is much from the one credible contender – comes at an attention-grabbing time in European telecoms.

The Fee had been on account of publish its last determination on Orange’s bid to merge with MasMovil in Spain this week, however paused proceedings over the summer season to provide it extra time to ruminate on the matter. Again in June it declared the plan anti-competitive, making the same old noises a couple of discount within the variety of community operators in Spain’s cell and stuck broadband sectors, leaving the 2 telcos to place collectively a package deal of potential cures.

And, extra to the purpose, leaving the trade speculating as as to if it’ll stick by its age-old insistence on four-player markets going ahead.

There was plenty of debate about consolidation in Europe – plus ça change – with Inner Market Commissioner Thierry Breton specifically speaking up the necessity for cross-border tie-ups; we’d see slightly extra of Breton in Vestager’s absence, by the way, though he isn’t formally selecting up the competitors baton. However the in-market M&A continues to be considered with suspicion in Brussels and as such the Orange/MasMovil deal is serving as a bellwether for future alternatives.

At this stage we are able to solely guess what – if any – affect the momentary arrival of Reynders to the highest competitors job can have on Orange/MasMovil and future telecoms M&A. Reynders himself has not given lots away.

Following EVP @vestager’s depart, I’ve been assigned the portfolio accountability for Competitors. I’ll proceed to make sure that EU competitors coverage & guidelines are vigorously enforced.

I thank President @vonderleyen for her belief. I stay up for working with @EU_Competition

— Didier Reynders (@dreynders) September 5, 2023

Pricey Margrethe @vestager, I want you plenty of success in your candidacy for the @EIB Presidency.

— Didier Reynders (@dreynders) September 5, 2023

Likely, he implies that wholeheartedly. Aside from anything, he should be a robust candidate to take up the high-profile competitors mantle ought to Vestager reach her EIB bid. All ought to change into clearer – when it comes to each Vestager’s future and the prospects of a Spanish telco merger – fairly quickly.


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