The Australian is reporting that the merger of mobile operators Hutchison 3G Australia (H3G) and Vodafone Australia has been completed, with the two companies taking equal holdings in new joint venture Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA). Under the terms of the deal H3G was granted the right to convert all its convertible preference shares, which the company is now understood to be in the process of doing. Further, in order to offset the difference in value of the two operators Vodafone will receive a deferred payment of AUD500 million (USD397 million) from VHA in the form of a shareholder loan; the loan is expected to be repaid within 18 months of the merger’s completion.
The combined network of the two cellcos will be the third largest in Australia, behind Telstra Mobile and Optus Mobile, and the JV expects revenues of approximately AUD4 billion per annum. The newly formed entity will continue to use both the Vodafone and 3 brands, but it is understood that the former will be the lead brand.