Telecom New Zealand Corp (Telecom) has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (HTA) from Hutchison Whampoa for AUD330.6 million (USD297.3 million). Telecom also has an option to increase its stake to 19.9%. As a result of the deal Hutchison Whampoa’s stake in HTA, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, will be reduced to 52% from 57.8%. The Hong Kong-based conglomerate, controlled by billionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing, will book a one-off gain of AUD116 million from the deal.
Hutchison’s Australia 3G network is its third largest, after 3UK and 3 Italia. In the first six months of this year, HTA’s subscriber base grew 13% to 1.4 million.