BRUSSELS Oct 8 Hutchison 3G will seek to
convince doubting EU regulators of the merits of its
1.3-billion-euro ($1.70 billion) bid for France Telecom's
Orange Austria subsidiary at a private hearing on
Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
EU approval of the deal could hinge on the hearing which
comes a week after EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia
questioned whether Hutchison could offer sufficient concessions
to settle concerns about the deal, signalling a possible veto.
Hutchison 3G Austria's chief executive Jan Trionow and
Hutchison 3G Europe's deputy chairman Christian Salbaing will
argue the case for the company at the closed-door event, said
the person, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity
of the matter.
Senior officials from the European Commission's competition
unit, Commission lawyers and representatives from national
antitrust agencies are expected to attend.
Oral hearings played a crucial role in helping Oracle
secure EU regulatory approval for its 2010 takeover of
Sun Microsystems and Sony to merge its recorded
business with Bertelsmann AG's unit in 2004, according to
Hutchison, a unit of Hutchison Whampoa, which is
controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has offered to
open its network to rivals at cost price but EU regulators want
more concessions before allowing the merger of Austria's two
Telekom Austria is the biggest player followed by
Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Greg Mahlich)