Vodafone’s plans to merge its opco in Malta with rival Melita have foundered on the rocks of regulatory scrutiny.

The UK-based company agreed a deal with Melita’s owners, private equity house Apax Partners MidMarket and investment company Fortino Capital, in May this year.

The merger was to create a quad-play provider to rival market leader GO that would operate under the Vodafone brand.

However, the parties could not agree a deal with the local competition authority and have now withdrawn their plans.

A statement from Vodafone read: “The parties have cooperated extensively with the Maltese Competition Authority (MCCAA) in order to obtain approval for the transaction.

“However, it has now become clear that the parties are unable to satisfy the MCCAA’s requirements and consequently they have decided to terminate the transaction and withdraw the notification.”

Vodafone does not break out the performance of its Maltese subsidiary in its financial results.

The operator upped its EBITDA outlook for the 2017/18 financial year as cost savings and revenue growth boosted its performance in the six months to 30 September.

It is the second time this year that regulators have scuppered an M&A deal that Vodafone was pursuing.

Plans to merge its subsidiary in New Zealand with Sky were blocked in February.

Vodafone is still hopeful of concluding a merger in India, where it hopes to join its opco with Idea Cellular next year.

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