Hong Kong billionaire Li's Hutchison offers $15 billion for Telefonica's UK mobile business

Associated Press

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's flagship company is offering about $15 billion for European mobile phone operator Telefonica's British business.

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. said in a statement Friday that it has been in "exclusive negotiations" with Telefonica SA over the past several weeks for the potential purchase of O2 UK.

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Hutchison said its offer includes 9.25 billion pounds ($13.9 billion) in cash plus up to another 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in deferred interest payments.

The sprawling ports-to-retail global conglomerate controlled by Li, who is Asia's richest individual, already owns British mobile operator Three.

The deal comes after the 86-year-old Li announced a reorganization of Hutchison into two new listed companies in an attempt to increase shareholder value.