Hutchison seeks EU approval to buy Telefonica's Irish unit

BRUSSELS Wed Oct 2, 2013 9:25am EDT

BRUSSELS Oct 2 (Reuters) - Hutchison Whampoa has asked EU competition regulators to approve its proposed takeover of Telefonica's 02 Ireland business, which would make it the second largest mobile telecoms operator in Ireland.

The European Commission said on its website it would decide on the deal, valued at 780 million euros ($1.1 billion), by Nov. 6.

Hutchison's local unit, 3 Ireland, may have to offer concessions to the EU competition authority as the takeover will reduce the number of telecoms companies operating in the Irish market from four to three, a level of competition which has in other national markets fuelled regulatory concerns.

Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, controlled by Asia's richest man Li Ka Shing, had to give up radio spectrum and promised rivals access to its network when its Austrian unit bought Orange Austria from France Telecom last year. ($1=0.7393 euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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