Date
17 December 2017
O2 lost out to EE in merger talks with BT last month. 
Photo: Bloomberg
O2 lost out to EE in merger talks with BT last month. Photo: Bloomberg

Hutchison eyes O2 UK in European expansion

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (00013.HK) is exploring a purchase of mobile-phone operator O2 in Britain, Bloomberg reported.

It’s Li Ka-shing’s latest move to expand his Hong Kong-based empire in Europe after the tycoon announced a buyout of Hutchison by his flagship, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (00001.HK) this month.

Other options Hutchison is studying include merging its Italian mobile unit with a local competitor, the report said, citing unnamed sources.

Hutchison, which owns the Three mobile network, may pay as much as 9 billion pounds (US$13.6 billion) for O2 UK, the Sunday Times reported.

Until last month, O2, a unit of Spain’s Telefonica SA, had been in merger talks with BT Group PLC, but the former British phone monopoly chose market leader EE instead.

Last year, Hutchison completed the takeover of Telefonica’s Irish unit for as much as 850 million euros (US$980 million) and merged it with Three Ireland.

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