Hutch may sell stake in Three to clinch O2 deal


In a statement accompanying its latest financial results, CK Hutchison said it could sell part of Three UK to a new investor and keep operators separate

CK Hutchison claims it may sell a stake in UK operator Three to raise funds for its £10.25 billion takeover of O2.

The Hong-Kong telecoms giant filed its latest financial results today (March 17) and said it was considering selling a stake in Three to a “new investor” who was not named.

Hutch has been facing increasing scrutiny on its proposed buyout of Telefonica’s UK holdings, with the European Commission expected to rule on the deal, announced in January 2015, within the next few months.

Regulator Ofcom has expressed opposition to the deal, so to allay concerns over competition, Hutchison has proposed a number of measures including a five year freeze for O2 and Three customers, and possibly selling off up to 30 per cent of its spectrum to rivals.

Hutchison said if it was to sell a stake in Three, it would operate the two networks as separate entities, in part to gain regulatory approval.

The disclosure came as Hutchison announced a net profit of HK$31.17 billion (£2.78 billion) for the last financial year on turnover of HK$316.32 billion (£2.8 billion).