Telefonica sells O2 Ireland to Hutchison’s 3 for $1 billion

(Reuters) – Indebted Spanish group Telefonica has agreed to sell its O2 Ireland mobile business for at least 780 million euros ($1 billion) in cash to Hutchison Whampoa’s local unit 3 Ireland, it was announced on Monday.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, would quadruple 3 Ireland’s market share to 37.5 percent and follows Hutchison’s failed bid last year for eircom, which owns the country’s third-biggest mobile operator Meteor.

For Telefonica, which has been hit hard by the downturn in its home market, the sale will help it in its aim to cut debt by a further 5 billion euros by the end of the year.

In the past decade Hutchison has built a presence in six European markets, including Britain and Italy, but has struggled to make a profit as it remains smaller than domestic rivals.

Read more at: Telefonica sells O2 Ireland to Hutchison’s 3 for $1 billion

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