O2 close to being purchased by Three U.K. in a $15 billion transaction

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O2 close to being purchased by Three U.K. in a $15 billion transaction
Last week, we told you that Hutchison Whampoa, the company that owns Three U.K, was working on a deal to buy Telefonica's O2. Now, it seems as though this transaction is getting closer to becoming a reality. A report published on Thursday cites those close to the deal as saying that it could be announced as soon as tomorrow.

The latest talk has the country's fourth largest carrier purchasing its second largest for the equivalent of $15 billion. If the deal goes through, the combined business would be the largest mobile operator in Britain based on subscribers. The current number one carrier in the nation, EE, is in the process of being purchased by British Telecom for $19.5 billion as the latter seeks to re-enter the wireless market.

Telefonica plans on using the proceeds of a deal to reduce its debt, which currently stands at a whopping $45 billion. Hutchison Whampoa is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest man in Asia. The combination of the two carriers will be looked at very closely by regulators worried about antitrust issues. The two carriers combined would have 31 million subscribers.

source: WSJ
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