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Hutchison Whampoa buyouts Orange Austria for US$1.71 bln

Feb. 6, 2012 (China Knowledge) - Hutchison Whampoa Ltd<0013>, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, has spent EUR 1.3 billion or around US$1.71 billion to acquire a 100% stake, including debts, in Austria's third-largest mobile operator Orange Austria.

Hutchison 3G Austria, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Hutchison Whampoa, said in a statement last Friday that it has bought a 35% stake in Orange Austria from France Telecom SA and the remaining 65% stake in private equity firm Mid Europa Partners.

As a part of the deal, the buyer is divesting assets to Telekom Austria for EUR 390 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the middle of this year.

U.S.-based financial holding company J.P. Morgan Chase & Co advised Hutchison, while U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley advised the sellers, said the people familiar with this matter.

Orange Austria is Austria's third-largest mobile operator with a 22% market share in the country last year, following Telekom Austria's A1 brand and T-Mobile Austria GmbH.

In 2010, Orange Austria reaped EUR 578 million in revenue with a net loss of EUR 9 million, sources reported.

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