Thursday, September 30, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

EU Says MCI/Sprint Merger May Proceed

According to a Tech Daily story [subscription required]: "The European Court of First Instance, the European Union's second-highest court, ruled that the commission no longer had the power to prohibit the merger because the plan had been abandoned by the two companies."

Okay, I think I get it. Over four years ago, MCI and Sprint withdrew their merger proposal after running into problems at DOJ and before the EU Competition Commission. Despite the withdrawal of the merger proposal by the parties, the Competition Commission went ahead and adopted an order in June 2000 blocking the merger on the theory that the proposal might be revived in the future. Now, the Euopean Court of First Instance has ruled that the Commission lacked power to block the merger.

Perhaps MCI, having survived a near-death experience and reportedly for sale, might again hook-up with Sprint. But I doubt it. The telecom world has much changed since the US and EU got exorcised about the potential dominance of the "long distance" market if MCI and Sprint got together. (Remember when the "long distance" and "local" markets were distinct?)

Well, I'm glad the Court of First Instance cleared all this up. And, considering it took four years to unblock a merger that had already collapsed, that body is not likely ever to be called the "Court of Anything Close to Instant."

posted by Randolph May @ 3:27 PM | General