A Summary Evaluation of the Antitrust Implications in Helios Towers' Acquisition of Multi-Links
6 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2012 Last revised: 25 Dec 2013
Date Written: January 31, 2012
Business combinations in telecommunications market have occurred since 1904 when the first combination between Pioneer Telephone & Telegraph Company, Shawnee’s Long Distance Telephone Company and the North American Telephone & Telegraph Company of Muskogee took place in Oklahoma, America. The merging parties will usually claim efficiencies to justify the combination but nevertheless in the last three decades, national Antitrust authorities have as a matter of practice reviewed such combinations whether they may substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly. In August 2011, the Department of Justice (DoJ), America’s lead Antitrust enforcement agency successfully instituted a lawsuit permanently injuncting the proposed merger between AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA Inc., two of the nation’s largest Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). On the other side of the Atlantic, in Nigeria, Helios Towers recently acquired Multi-Links. Both companies operate in the Nigerian Telecommunications market.
In this article, I summarily evaluate the Antitrust implications of the transaction, if any. I also briefly discuss the “failing company” defence invoked to justify the acquisition of an ailing company and conclude by proposing various measures that would substantially mitigate any potential harm caused by the transaction to competition in the affected markets.
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