Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (00013.HK) will create Britain’s largest mobile network after agreeing a £10.3 billion (US$15.3 billion) deal to acquire the British mobile operator O2 from Spain’s Telefónica.
In its largest overseas deal, Hutchison will combine O2 with its Three mobile group to bring together 31 million customers, or about 41 per cent of the British wireless market, the Financial Times reported.
The Hong Kong-based conglomerate, controlled by Li Ka-shing, said Tuesday it had agreed terms to acquire O2 following exclusive discussions with Telefónica.
The two groups said the deal would be subject to regulatory approvals that might take up to a year.
Hutchison could license the O2 brand in Britain to run alongside or instead of Three in future, an unnamed source told the newspaper, saying a final decision has not been made.
The firm is still in talks to sell a 30 per cent stake in the combined group to sovereign wealth funds, including those of Qatar, Singapore and Canada, the report said.
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