March 1, 2016 / 9:16 PM / 3 years ago

Hutchison to meet EU regulators on March 7 over UK deal: source

Women use their mobile phones outside an O2 shop in Loughborough, central England January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Staples

BRUSSELS - CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd (0001.HK) will try to convince European Union regulators at a meeting next week to ease objections to its 10.3 billion pound ($14.37 billion) takeover of Telefonica’s (TEF.MC) O2, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The closed-door March 7 hearing, organized by the European Commission, will also be attended by British pay TV company Sky SKYB.L Liberty Global-owned (LBTYA.O) cable TV network Virgin Media, TalkTalk (TALK.L), Vodafone (VOD.L) and BT (BT.L), the person said.

The hearing was been shifted to March 7 from a tentative date of March 4. Hutchison’s potential takeover of O2 would create Britain’s biggest mobile operator and cut the number of networks to three.

But the EU antitrust regulator is expected to demand tough concessions. A typical demand is to create or boost a smaller competitor.

TalkTalk, which has a wholesale deal with O2, has already said it would be keen to help Hutchison create a new fourth mobile operator in Britain.

French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel’s Iliad (ILD.PA), which is also eyeing an opening in the British market, may also take part in the March 7 proceedings, the person said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Alastair Macdonald and Susan Thomas

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