Three UK Rules Out Takeover Bid for O2

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Hutchison 3G's UK arm has ruled out a takeover bid for its UK rival network Telefonica O2.

Three's parent company, Hutchison Whampoa is currently working its way through seeking regulatory approval for a deal to buy O2 Ireland, which had sparked speculation that a similar deal might be possible in the UK.

Three UK's CEO, Dave Dyson told The Telegraph that "We're not looking to acquire or to be acquired. I think we've got an opportunity to build a standalone business that delivers against customer and shareholder expectations."

The company is already struggling to persuade European regulators to permit consolidation in Ireland, and would almost certainly face an even harder challenge to do the same in the UK.

"Mobile operators have to have a reasonable amount of scale because there is a large fixed cost," said Mr Dyson. "We've got ourselves into a position in the UK with 8m customers and £2bn revenue where our margins are reasonable and they're improving."

He also noted that with several network infrastructure sharing deals between the UK networks already in place, the market had "already been consolidated".

The company is currently lobbying to persuade regulators to force through roaming cost cuts at the wholesale level so that it can more effectively compete with the multi-national operators.

On the web: The Telegraph

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