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TPG Accuses ACCC Of Protecting NBN

A TPG board member and chairman of one of its major shareholders has accused the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of blocking its $15 billion merger with Vodafone to protect the NBN, despite the Department of Communications supporting the merger.

Washington H Soul Pattinson (WHSP) chairman Robert Millner told the Sydney Morning Herald he was “shocked and disappointed” by the decision.

“I don’t think there’s any basis for it at all other than the government trying to protect the NBN,” Mr Millner said.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the suggestion was “complete rubbish”, while a spokeswoman from the ACCC touted the Commission’s “strong reputation as an independent regulator”.

The ACCC cited a belief TPG would increase competition by building a fourth mobile network as one reason for blocking the merger.

 

Mr Millner said TPG, of which WHSP is a 25 per cent shareholder, is no longer financially capable of building a fourth mobile network after a government ban on Huawei technology.

TPG executive chairman David Teoh said the company now has no plans to build a new network and will instead focus on other growth areas.

Vodafone and TPG are challenging the regulator’s decision in the Federal Court.

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