Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, parent company of British cellco Hutchison 3G UK (Three), has submitted an application for approval of its bid for O2 UK to the European Commission (EC), Mobile World Live reports. The application was filed on 11 September, with a provisional deadline for a decision set as 16 October 2015, at which date the EC could approve the move or continue to further investigate its potential effect on competition.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2015 it was revealed that CK Hutchison – then known as Hutchison Whampoa prior to a June 2015 restructuring exercise – had entered into an agreement to acquire the British subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica. At that date it said it would pay GBP9.25 billion at the closing of the deal, with deferred upside payments of up to another GBP1 billion in the aggregate, with this payable after the cumulative cash flow of the combined businesses of Three and O2 UK reaches an agreed threshold. A combination of O2 UK and Three will create the UK’s largest mobile network operator with more than 34 million subscribers, and at the time of the deal’s announcement it was claimed the planned tie-up would ‘generate significant synergy potential’, while also ensuring the combined entity had ‘the scale and financial strength necessary to be an even more effective and aggressive competitor in the rapidly evolving UK telecommunications sector’.