AMSTERDAM, March 5 Hutchison Whampoa
has offered concessions to counter European Union regulatory
concerns about its proposed $1 billion bid for Telefonica's
02 Ireland unit, the European Commission said on
Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison, controlled by Asia's
richest man Li Ka-shing, is seeking to boost its position in
Europe via a series of acquisitions.
Its latest takeover offer however has fueled regulatory
worries that the deal, which reduces the number of mobile
telephony operators from four to three in Ireland, may lead to
higher consumer prices.
Hutchison offered concessions on Tuesday, European
Commission spokesman for competition policy, Antoine Colombani,
said, adding that the deadline for a decision on whether to
clear the deal or not had been extended until May 19.
A Hutchison spokesman declined to comment.
Hutchison is prepared to sell radio spectrum and continue a
network sharing agreement with rival eircom's subsidiary Meteor,
the third biggest operator in Ireland, a source familiar with
the matter told Reuters last month.
Vodafone is the market leader in Ireland.
The Commission's decision is expected to show how tough it
will be on a much bigger telecoms deal in Germany where
Telefonica Deutschland wants to buy KPN's
E-Plus unit for 8.6 billion euros.