Deutsche Wohnen headquarters in Berlin
Photo: Christoph Soeder / dpa
The Federal Cartel Office has no objections to the merger of the two largest German residential property groups, Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen.
"The joint market shares of the companies do not justify any prohibition under competition law," said the President of the Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt, on Monday in Bonn.
The competition authority has therefore given the go-ahead for the planned takeover.
Mundt emphasized that the Bundeskartellamt is of course also aware of how tense the housing situation is in Berlin and many other large cities.
"We have therefore carefully examined the various regional housing markets." However, the merger is not expected to have any significant adverse effects on competition in the rental market at the local or regional level.
The provider structure for rental apartments is still very fragmented despite the large housing associations.
In addition to numerous private landlords, municipal housing companies, housing cooperatives and other commercial providers are also represented in the relevant markets, which continue to limit Vonovia's scope for action.
The Federal Cartel Office carried out particularly in-depth investigations in the housing markets in the cities of Berlin, Dresden, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Puchheim and the municipality of Wustermark.
Only here were Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen joint market shares of over 10 percent in the various rental housing markets possible.
But the Bundeskartellamt saw no reason to take action here either.
150,000 apartments in Berlin
The authority referred to the example of Berlin: Of the nearly 1.7 million rental apartments in the city, around 322,000 belong to municipal housing companies, around 189,000 are in cooperative hands, and around 1.15 million belong to private housing companies and individual owners.
Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen account for around 150,000 of these.
Vonovia wants to buy Deutsche Wohnen for around 18 billion euros.
The takeover offer presented in May is also supported by Deutsche Wohnen.
The merger would create Europe's largest residential property group with more than 500,000 apartments.
dab / dpa