Hutch to offer up to 30pc of spectrum to seal O2 deal

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Reports claim that the Three-owner will seek to win over sceptical EU regulators by offering up additional remedies to allay competition fears over £10.25bn merger

CK Hutchison will offer regulators a range of remedies in an attempt to push through its proposed £10.25 billion takeover of O2.

The Financial Times claims that Three’s parent company will offer to give up to 30 per cent of its spectrum to rivals in a bid to win a regulatory thumbs up for the deal.

The European Commissioner who will rule on the deal, Margarethe Vestager, has previously expressed concerns that the takeover would see the number of mobile operators active in the UK fall from four to three. This, she claims, could harm competition, something Hutchison strongly denies.

Hutchison has been locked in talks with the European Commission since Monday 7, attempting to win approval to buy the UK’s second biggest operator from Telefonica.

Last month, CK VP Canning Fok promised a five year price freeze should the deal go through, after Ofcom CEO Sharon White expressed doubts about the takeover.

The FT claims regulators are still pushing CK Hutchison to break off part of its business to form a new, separate operator, maintaining four networks in the UK.

The deal was first agreed in March 2015. In a statement at the time, Telefonica said that the conditions of the deal must be satisfied no later than June 30 2016, save certain circumstances (not specified) in which that date can be extended to September 30.

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