France Telecom-Orange has announced that it has entered into a binding agreement with its co-shareholder Mid Europa Partners (MEP) for the sale of their combined 100% stake in Orange Austria to Hutchison 3G Austria (H3G), a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. The French telecoms giant currently holds a 35% stake in Orange Austria, whilst Budapest-based private equity firm MEP owns the remaining 65%. FT-Orange confirmed that the agreement implies an enterprise value of approximately EUR1.3 billion (USD1.7 billion), and is expected to provide it with cash proceeds of around EUR70 million for its equity stake. The French group notes that the completion of both transactions remains subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory and anti-trust authorities, which is expected to take place by mid-2012.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the deal – which has been rumoured since September 2011 – also involves H3G offloading around 3,000 of Orange’s 5,000 base stations, surplus frequencies in the 2.1GHz spectrum band, and Orange’s wholly-owned Yesss! mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) unit to A1 Telekom Austria immediately after the transaction.