EU ready to approve Hutchison Whampoa deal for Orange Austria, says report

Local reports in Austria have suggested the EU is ready to approve Hutchison Whampoa’s €1.3 billion takeover of Orange Austria.

Hutchison first announced its intentions to takeover Orange Austria last year, but regulators extended the deadline to approve the deal in July, as any approval would see the Austrian market shrink from four operators to three.

Reports suggested a national newspaper had seen an EU document which showed that approval for the deal to go through was a formality.

Hutchison 3G Austria has agreed to give up spectrum if a new operator wanted to enter the market in a bid to counter fears of anti-competition as a result of the takeover.

According to Reuters, Hutchison 3G Austria had not yet heard anything about a decision, but did confirm it had agreed to give up frequencies if required, while a spokesperson for the EU said its “investigation is ongoing.”

The EU has set a date of December 21 2012 for a final decision.