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Hutchison set to create largest UK network

mobile

Hutchison Whampoa, the owner of mobile group Three, has agreed a £10.3bn deal to acquire O2 in the UK from Spain's Telefonica, making it Britain's largest mobile network. Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison will combine O2 with Three to bring together 31 million customers, or about 41% of the UK wireless market. Hutchison said in a statement yesterday that it had agreed terms to acquire O2 following exclusive discussions with Telefonica. The two groups said the deal would be subject to regulatory approvals that might take up to a year. Hutchison will pay an initial £9.25bn, with an additional deferred payment of £1bn once the cumulative cash flow of the combined company in the UK reaches an agreed threshold. Hutchison is still in talks with a number of sovereign wealth funds about selling 30% stake in the combined group, worth about £3bn. Funds from Qatar, Singapore and Canada are understood to be interested.

 

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