Hutchison to offer O2 stake to overseas investors

Hutchison Whampoa said it plans to sell a one-third stake in its British mobile phone business for $4.3bn (£2.7bn) to five investors – a move that will help the Hong Kong ports-to-telecoms group fund its boldest bet in Europe yet, reports The Guardian.

Hutchison, owned by billionaire Li Ka-shing, agreed in January to buy Telefonica’s British mobile unit O2 for nearly $15.4bn and merge it with its UK subsidiary to create the top mobile operator in the country.

Singapore’s GIC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board both said they will each pour £1.1bn into the deal.

The other investors are the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Brazilian investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, which manages public and private sector pension funds and insurance funds, Hutchison said in a securities filing. Their investments were not disclosed.

The deal value could grow by nearly $500m if the O2 mobile phone business meets performance targets, Hutchison added.

The Hong Kong conglomerate took on a £6bn bank loan to finance the purchase of the O2 UK business and had flagged that it was talking with private equity firms and other investors for a minority stake in the business.