Hutchison 3G Makes Offer for Orange Austria


Mobile operator Hutchison 3G is offering 1.4 billion euros ($1.87 billion) to buy larger rival Orange Austria, Reuters reported Friday. France Telecom owns 35% of Orange Austria, and private equity firm Mid Europa Partners owns the other 65%.

(Reuters) – Mobile operator Hutchison 3G is offering 1.4 billion euros ($1.87 billion)to buy larger rival Orange Austria, newspapers reported on Friday.

The Kurier paper said the deal could could go through as early as next month if regulators approve. It said neither company would comment.

The deal would boost Hutchison from number four to number three in the competitive Austrian market, behind T-Mobile and market leader A1.

It said Hutchison planned to sell excess base stations, frequencies and the “Yesss!” brand to A1.

France Telecom, which owns 35 percent of Orange Austria, has said it was not looking to buy private equity firm Mid Europa Partner’s 65 percent stake this year.

France Telecom, Europe’s third-largest telecom operator by market capitalisation, and Mid Europa Partners acquired Austrian mobile operator One, which they rebranded as Orange Austria, for an enterprise value of about 1.4 billion euros in 2007.

Orange Austria, which has 2.3 million customers, is valued at 740 million euros to 1.1 billion, and Mid Europa’s stake would be worth 481-715 million, the Wirtschaftsblatt paper has reported.

($1 = 0.7506 euros) (Reporting by Angelika Gruber; Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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