EC Authorizes BellSouth to Increase E-Plus Stake

BRUSSELS (01/27/2000) - The European Commission today gave its approval for BellSouth Corp. to buy Vodafone AirTouch PLC's 17.24 percent stake in E-Plus GmbH, the German mobile operator, the Commission announced in a statement today.

When the Commission last year approved Vodafone's merger with Airtouch, it had set as a condition the sale of its stake in E-Plus due to competition concerns.

As one of the founding members of E-Plus, BellSouth had right-of-first-refusal to purchase E-Plus shares.

"The acquisition by BellSouth does not give rise to any addition of market shares and the acquisition will not lead to any overlaps on the market for mobile telephony in Germany since BellSouth is not active on this market except for its participation in E-Plus," the Commission said in a statement today.

E-Plus is one of the four mobile telephony operators in Germany.

BellSouth, in Atlanta, can be contacted at +1-404-927-7850, or at http://www.bellsouth.com. E-Plus, in Düsseldorf, can be reached at http://www.eplus.de. Vodafone AirTouch, in Newbury, England, can be contacted at +44-16-35-33-251, or at http://www.vodafone-airtouch-plc.com/.

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