Regulators extend deadline for decision on Hutchison’s Orange Austria bid

EU regulators have extended the deadline regarding a decision for Hutchison 3G’s €1.3 billion bid to acquire France Telecom’s Orange Austria to November 27 2012.

Regulators will examine the proposal amid competitor concerns and the deadline has been extended by three weeks. Any successful offering would reduce the number of competitors in the market from four to three.

A successful bid means Hutchison would hold a 22% market share, combining Orange Austria with its ‘3’ network, which it presently operates in the country. The Hong Kong-based company would still hold a smaller market share than Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile and market leader Telekom Austria’s A1.

The regulators are also looking to examine Hutchison’s deal with a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to enter the Austrian market, and use its network in the country. The MVNO is presently unnamed, but market rumours suggest it is Liberty Global’s UPC operation.