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Telefonica sweetens offer to win EU approval for E-Plus deal

The headquarters of German mobile phone operator E-Plus Group is pictured in Duesseldorf July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
The headquarters of German mobile phone operator E-Plus Group is pictured in Duesseldorf July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Telefonica Deutschland has sweetened its offer of concessions in order to win European Union approval for its planned takeover of KPN's E-Plus unit in Germany, a spokesman for the telecoms firm said.

Telefonica Deutschland, a unit of Spanish telecoms operator Telefonica, last month offered to lease spectrum above 2 gigahertz and access to its network to rivals after the European Commission expressed concerns about the 8.6 billion euro ($11.9 billion) deal.

The EU antitrust authority subsequently asked rivals and third parties for their views on the package. The deadline for comments ended last week.

"As is usual in such processes, we have now filed a modified remedy package with the European Commission, which is based on the feedback of the first market test. We cannot comment on any details of the remedies," Telefonica Deutschland spokesman Albert Fetsch said on Thursday.

The EU antitrust authority is now seeking another round of feedback from third parties and has given them until May 5 to do so, two people familiar with the matter said. The Commission has set a June 23 deadline for its decision.

"The revised package is just fine-tuning some elements, basically conditions for accessing the combined company's network. Telefonica has not offered to lease lower-frequency spectrum," the person said.

The sources said the first package was not sufficient to enable the rise of a fourth mobile operator in Germany to take the place of E-Plus, which would be needed to allay regulatory concerns that the deal would reduce the number of operators in Europe's biggest market.

($1 = 0.7212 Euros)

(editing by Jane Baird)

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