Clare Burnett

Asia's richest person in talks to buy O2 for £10 billion

Asia’s richest person Li Ka-shin and his Hong Kong-based firm Hutchison Whampoa is in talks to buy British mobile provider O2 for up to £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion) from Spain’s Telefonica.

Hutchison Whampoa already owns the Three mobile network, and combining it with O2 would create the UK’s biggest mobile group.

However, the move could face tough scrutiny from competition regulators.

The move is likely to face scrutiny from regulators, and also face competition in the market, as rival EE is in talks with the BT Group.

According to the BBC, a note on the Hong Kong stock exchange said: “Shareholders and potential investors of the company should note that such negotiations may or may not result in any transaction, and accordingly are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the company,”

Hutchison shares jumped 4% on the announcement after they resumed trading in Hong Kong. They had been suspended on Friday morning pending the statement.

86-year-old Mr Li has spent more than £20 billion on overseas acquisitions in recent years. Just earlier this week, he agreed to buy the UK’s Eversholt Rail Group for £1.1 billion.

His business empire has interests in property, energy, ports and telecoms.

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