3 Europe ‘not for sale’

15 Dec 2006

Third-generation mobile carrier 3’s European operations are not up for sale, a spokesperson for 3 Ireland told siliconrepublic.com.

She was responding to reports that suggest 3’s parent company Hutchison Whampoa is in negotiations to sell its European franchise to China Mobile.

Reports circulating yesterday claim that the deal is currently being finalised and that an announcement is imminent.

It is understood that there has been considerable interest in acquiring 3’s UK operations and that Hutchison Whampoa has been actively looking to sell the operation.

Other prospective buyers are reported to include Vodafone’s chief executive Arun Sarin, Italy’s TIM and O2/Telefonica.

The deal with China Mobile is understood to include 3’s operations in Italy and the UK, which would include Ireland.

Describing the reports as “speculation”, the spokesperson for 3 Ireland told siliconrepublic.com: “Hutchison Whampoa says that the 3 Group is not up for sale.”

By John Kennedy