Australia's TPG Telecom challenges block on $10 bln merger with Vodafone JV

Credit: REUTERS/STEVEN SAPHORE

TPG Telecom has filed a case with an Australian court challenging the anti-trust regulator's move to block its about $10 billion merger with Vodafone's local joint venture.

Adds Vodafone comment, background on deal

May 24 (Reuters) - TPG Telecom TPM.AX has filed a case with an Australian court challenging the anti-trust regulator's move to block its about $10 billion merger with Vodafone's VOD.L local joint venture.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) blocked the A$15 billion ($10.34 billion) merger earlier this month, citing competition concerns.

The deal was to combine Australia's third and fourth-largest telcos to create a big player boasting TPG's fibre network and Vodafone's mobile system. The rejection, accidentally uploaded on the regulator's website earlier than expected, had knocked down shares of the telecom operators.

The parties will seek orders to quicken the proceedings, TPG said in a statement on Friday.

An ACCC spokesman declined to comment on the proceedings.

Vodafone's business, which has struggled with reliability, is a joint venture with Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd HTA.AX, while TPG largely has an internet business with a low-cost reputation.

"We believe the merger will create an entity that can compete more aggressively in the mobile market," a Vodafone spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

($1 = 1.4501 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

((Devika.Syamnath@thomsonreuters.com; +91 80 6749 1130; Reuters Messaging: Devika.Syamnath.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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