Orange and MásMóvil in 18.6 billion euro merger

The integration of the two groups will in practice mean the creation of the largest mobile operator in Spain, overtaking Movistar

JOSÉ MARÍA CAMARERO

Orange and MásMóvil on Saturday, 23 July, confirmed the merger they have been working on since almost the start of the year. The integration of the two groups will in practice mean the creation of the leading mobile operator in Spain, overtaking Movistar, until now the historic leader in the sector, in terms of number of customers; Vodafone is now in third place.

The new operator will have almost 24.5 million mobile lines, compared to Movistar's nearly 16 million and Vodafone's 12.5 million. The market shares are similar in the case of mobile broadband but not for fixed broadband. Telefónica España does manage to retain its leadership of the Spanish market in terms of revenue and profit for fixed broadband. But not in number of customers: with 31 million, the new telecoms conglomerate snatches a historic lead.

Of the new merger valuation, 7.8 billion is valued for Orange and 10.9 billion for MásMóvil. The deal is subject to the approval of the competition authorities, as well as other relevant authorities, and is expected to close during the second half of 2023 at the latest. Until then, each of the two brands, with their corresponding tariffs and commercial characteristics, will continue to operate autonomously.

The merger of Orange and MásMóvil will create "a sustainable player with sufficient financial capacity and scale to enable it to continue to invest and secure the future of infrastructure competition in Spain, to the benefit of consumers and businesses," the two groups said.

Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange, said the deal "paves the way for the creation of a joint venture into a single, stronger operator, which will enable investments in 5G and fibre, benefiting customers across Spain". Meinrad Spenger, CEO of MásMóvil, said the deal will "foster competition, digitisation and innovation".