Hutchison 3G Austria (H3G), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Limited, has announced that it has completed ‘all contractual formalities’ relating to its long-running EUR1.4 billion (USD1.87 billion) acquisition of Orange Austria from its previous owners Mid Europa Partners (65%) and France Telecom-Orange (35%). The announcement brings an end to the controversial year-long takeover process which ran the risk of being derailed by regulatory authorities in both Vienna and Brussels. H3G CEO Jan Trionow commented: ‘We are delighted that, after undergoing a lengthy regulatory process, we have finally been able to close this acquisition. We can now get down to focusing all our efforts on playing a leading role in developing the future of the Austrian mobile market. I am particularly looking forward to working, with the combined talents and commitment of both existing and new colleagues in the company, to push forward with building a nationwide LTE network in Austria within the next two years’.
As part of the overall transaction, certain frequencies, base stations and the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Yesss!, as well as certain other intellectual property of Orange Austria was sold to A1 Telekom Austria for EUR390 million; Telekom has confirmed that the closure of the Hutchison/Orange deal enabled it to complete the acquisition of Yesss!, including transferring the payment for that portion of the deal. It has also taken ownership of the intellectual property rights associated with Orange’s former ‘One’ brand, but says the remaining assets will be transferred ‘gradually’.