Three to buy O2 Ireland for €780m

Three to buy O2 Ireland

Mobile network Three said this morning that it has entered into an agreement with Telefonica to buy its O2 business in Ireland for €780m.

An additional €70m will be paid if agreed financial targets are achieved.
Three said the acquisition of O2 will take its market share to 37.5pc and bring subscriber numbers to 2 million active users. The two two companies had combined revenues of €803m in 2012, €174m of which was Three’s.

“Three is very pleased to have agreed to acquire O2 Ireland, a business whose strengths complement ours very well,” said Three CEO Robert Finnegan. “Since market entry in 2005, Three Ireland has grown organically through innovation, competitive pricing and quality customer offerings. As an ambitious competitor in the market we have been looking at ways to increase customer numbers and grow market share, and acquisition was the natural next step.

“Our combined 37.5pc market share gives us the scale and financial strength to compete even more aggressively in the market to the benefit of consumers.  Our ability to invest coupled with the combined subscriber base will create new competitive dynamics in the Irish telecoms market.

“Increasing access to high-quality high-speed networks for Irish businesses and consumers is an essential part of our national economic recovery. This deal will allow significant investment to be made in building a state of the art network.  The combined network will also deliver very real benefits to customers outside the major urban areas as the increased scale will allow Three to extend its rural network investment programme beyond 2014.”

Three Ireland is 100pc owned by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HWL). “Hutchison Whampoa is a major global player and this deal is a major vote of confidence in the Irish market,” said Finnegan.

Completion of this transaction is subject to competition approval.

Grainne Rothery