July 4, 2012 / 12:36 AM / 8 years ago

Vodafone and Hutchison to share Irish grid: FT

A customer walks past the Vodafone logo in a shopping mall in Prague February 7, 2012. REUTERS/David W Cerny

LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone (VOD.L) is in advanced discussions with rival Hutchison Whampoa 0013.HK about merging their Irish telecoms infrastructure, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The negotiations between Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-based conglomerate that operates the Three mobile brand in Ireland, to create a shared grid have reached agreement but have not been formally signed, the FT said.

The merger will create an equal joint venture structure that will own the telecoms equipment but they will maintain independent spectrum holdings and run competing retail services.

A person with knowledge of the talks is cited as saying savings for each business could exceed 200 million pounds ($313.57 million) over a five-year period. ($1 = 0.6378 British pounds) (Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Paul Tait)

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