EU approves Three’s O2 acquisition

Pictured: Robert Finnegan, Three
Pictured: Robert Finnegan, Three

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28 May 2014 | 0

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of the Telefónica O2 business in Ireland by Three.

The deal takes Three’s market share to 37% and bring subscriber numbers to over 2 million active users. The two companies had combined revenues of €736 million in 2013, which compares to Three’s revenue of €180 million in 2013 on a standalone basis.

“With the combined strengths of the two businesses, Three will have the scale and financial strength necessary to compete more aggressively against the number one in the market. Our ability to invest coupled with the combined subscriber base of both businesses will create new competitive dynamics in the Irish telecoms market”, said Robert Finnegan, CEO of Three, Ireland.

“This deal will enable Three to invest significantly in building a state-of-the-art 4G network, delivering very real benefits to customers in urban and rural areas throughout the country.

“Our focus will now turn to the legal requirements to complete the acquisition which we expect to do shortly. Until then it is business as usual for Three and O2 customers.”

Hutchison Whampoa, Three’s parent company, has so far invested over €1.1 billion in the Three’s Irish business. This, together with the purchase of O2 Ireland and the planned investment of €300 million to build a 4G network over the next three years, will bring its total investment in Ireland to about €2 billion.

As part of the EU approval process, Three has committed to provide network capacity and MVNO services to two MVNOs in order to facilitate new MVNO entry into Ireland with the option to acquire spectrum that may be taken up by one or the other to become a network operator. Three has also committed to offer to eircom Meteor to continue its network sharing with O2 on improved terms with the merged network.

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