According to the European regulator, the deal between Viasat and Inmarsat would not raise competition concerns in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it and the Commission found that both companies' market positions would remain moderate

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Viasat gets clearance from EC for its $7.3bn acquisition of Inmarsat. (Credit: Inmarsat Global Limited)

The European Commission (EC) has unconditionally cleared the previously announced Viasat’s $7.3bn acquisition of British mobile satellite communications services provider Inmarsat under the European Union (EU) Merger Regulation.

According to the regulator, the deal would not lead to competition concerns in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

The clearance for the deal comes after the conclusion of an in-depth phase 2 investigation that was launched by the authority in February 2023.

The in-depth probe was launched by the EC to examine if the deal would stifle competition in the market for the supply of broadband in-flight connectivity services to commercial airlines in the EEA and globally.

Besides, the phase 2 probe investigated whether the new players in the market would be able to compete with the merged entity in the future.

In the in-depth investigation, the EC found that both companies’ market positions would remain moderate.

The Commission also concluded that the merged entity would face sufficient competitive pressure from a significant number of new operators of non-geostationary earth orbit satellites.

EC Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “In-flight internet connectivity on commercial flights is set to become more and more common in Europe.

“Our in-depth investigation has shown that Viasat’s plan to buy rival satellite operator Inmarsat will not have a negative impact on the competitive landscape for this service.

“Our extensive market investigation confirmed that sufficient choice among several credible providers will remain available for airlines to offer their passengers.”

Earlier this month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved the Viasat-Inmarsat deal following the completion of its own in-depth phase 2 probe into potential competition concerns in Britain.