Hutchison Whampoa to submit revised concessions for O2 Ireland bid

04 April 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


The EU has halted its investigation into Hutchison Whampoa's $1 billion bid for O2 Ireland, as it waits for the company to revise the concessions the company made to win approval for the acquisition.

EU regulators agreed to suspend the formal investigation into the merger – which was due to come to a conclusion on May 19 – while Hutchison works on changes to the company’s offer and to allow the European Commission to review them.

"We have stopped the clock, because essential information was discovered by us during the market test that was not provided before by the parties," said Joaquin Almunia, European Competition Commissioner.

According to sources, the company is set to cede spectrum and customers to a smaller rival at no charge and to continue a network-sharing agreement with competitor Meteor.

The EU is concerned that the deal will shrink competition as it reduces the number of operators in Ireland down to three.

This ruling is indicative of whether the European Commission will in future allow deals which reduce the number of players in a national market.

The EU is also investigating the $12 billion acquisition of E-Plus by Telefónica Deutschland. The takeover would combine the two companies and create a player of similar size to the two leading operators, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.