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EU clears Hutchison’s $1 billion takeover of O2 Ireland


By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa gained European Union regulatory approval on Wednesday for its $1 billion bid for Telefonicas Irish business after agreeing to aid two smaller rivals in Ireland. Hutchison, controlled by Asias richest man, Li Ka-shing, is looking to strengthen its position in Europe where it operates in six countries. Hutchison, with the fourth largest mobile network in Ireland, will buy the countrys second-largest operator O2 Ireland but will still be behind market leader Vodafone . The European Commission said Hutchison will have to sell up to 30 percent of the merged companys network capacity to two mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which use the networks of other companies to offer telecoms services.

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