Hutchison Whampoa to buy O2 UK for £10bn

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25 March 2015 | 0

Hutchison Whampoa has agreed to acquire UK mobile operator O2 for a price that could top £10 billion, giving a company that already owns one major carrier an even bigger share of the British market.

The deal, which has been in the works at least since January, continues a trend of consolidation among European service providers. Hutchison already owns Three, one of the UK’s biggest carriers. Together, Three and O2 would form the country’s number one mobile operator by subscribers, according to news reports.

O2 is currently owned by Spanish multinational mobile giant Telefonica. Hutchison agreed to make an initial payment of £9.25 billion when the deal closes and pay another £1 billion when cash flow from the combined company reaches a certain level, Telefonica said.

The transaction still needs regulatory approvals. It would cut the number of major mobile operators in the country from four to three.

Hutchison, based in Hong Kong, owns mobile operators under the Three name in several countries, including Ireland. It also has interests in property, ports, retail, energy and infrastructure.

The O2 buyout is the second big mobile deal in the UK this year. Last month, BT agreed to buy mobile carrier EE from Deutsche Telekom and Orange for about £12.5 billion.

IDG News Service

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