Hutchison Whampoa still keen to acquire Orange Austria
Hutchison Whampoa, which bid unsuccessfully for Eircom this year, would prefer to make acquisitions in the European telecommunications market rather than sell any of its assets, managing director Canning Fok said yesterday.
“If there is ever a consolidation to be done, then we are the consolidator, not the consolidated,” he told reporters in Vienna.
“We’ll end up being the surviving leader. I’m not interested in anything less.”
Hutchison Whampoa, which is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, owns mobile phone businesses in such European nations as the UK, Italy and Ireland. The planned €1.3 billion takeover of Orange Austria by the company’s Three unit there is under review by competition regulators.
While Li faces a hurdle in Austria and was thwarted in Ireland this year, Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB last month acquired stakes in Telekom Austria AG and Dutch operator Royal KPN NV. “The longer the process takes, the weaker the business case will be,” Fok said of the Orange Austria purchase. Hutchison will seek a judicial review if the transaction is blocked and won’t commit to the plan for an unlimited time, he said, without being more specific. – (Bloomberg)