Singapore's GIC to buy stake in Hutchison Whampoa's UK mobile units

GMT 06:51 2015 Friday ,08 May

Arab Today, arab today Singapore's GIC to buy stake in Hutchison Whampoa's UK mobile units

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC
Singapore - AFP

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC said Friday it is tying up with four other companies to invest 3.1 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) for a 33 percent stake in Hutchison Whampoa's British mobile telecom business.

The five firms, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual, will take a one-third stake in Hutchison's combined business of British telcos Three and O2.

The fifth firm is the pension fund of the Canadian province of Quebec, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec.

GIC itself will invest 1.1 billion pounds, the Singapore firm said in a statement which did not give a breakdown of the investments by the other firms.

Hutchison Whampoa, the conglomerate controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, finalised a deal in March to buy British telecom giant O2 from Spain's Telefonica for $15.2 billion.

Hutchison already owns Britain's Three mobile phone network, and if both are merged it will reduce to three the number of players in Britain's fast consolidating wireless telecoms sector.

The purchase of O2 is part of a sweeping rearrangement of 86-year-old Li's business empire announced in January that is seen by observers to pave the way for his retirement.

There has been speculation of a handover to his elder son Victor.

GIC said in the statement its investment "is conditional on and will occur concurrently with the completion of Three UK's acquisition of O2 UK and the combination of both businesses, which are subject to EU regulatory approvals".

GIC, one of Singapore's two state-linked investment funds, manages the affluent city-state's foreign exchange reserves of well above $100 billion.

It has investments across 40 countries in such assets as equities, fixed income, real estate and private equity.

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