Report: DoCoMo, KPN to Buy Hutchison U.K. 3G Stake

TOKYO (07/04/2000) - Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. is close to selling a stake in its U.K. third-generation (3G) cellular operator unit to Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Holland's KPN Mobile NV, the Financial Times reported.

The newspaper said, without citing sources, that the two companies will purchase a 35 percent stake in the Hutchison unit that will offer third generation mobile services in the UK. The two companies will likely pay between US$1.5 billion [B] and $2 billion for the stake. After the deal is complete, Hutchison will remain the controlling shareholder with 58 percent followed by NTT DoCoMo with 20 percent, KPN Mobile with 15 percent and Telesystem International Wireless Inc. (TIW) with 7 percent, said the newspaper.

The company, a mobile virtual network operator, is currently 90.1 percent owned by Hutchison and 9.9 percent owned by TIW and will provide service using the license recently won by TIW in the UK's mobile license auction. [See "3G Mobile Auction Finally Ends at $35B," April 27.]Both KPN Mobile and Hutchison are already partners of NTT DoCoMo.

The Japanese carrier took a 5 billion [B] euros (US$4.8 billion [B]) stake in KPN Mobile earlier this year with an eye on entering the European mobile telephone market. [See "NTT DoCoMo Takes US$4.5B Stake in KPN Mobile," May 9.]Late last year the company struck a deal with Hutchison Telephone Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-based mobile carrier owned by Hutchison Whampoa, to purchase a 19 percent stake in the carrier for US$410 million [M]. [See "NTT DoCoMo to Take Stake in Hutchison Telephone," Dec. 2.]NTT DoCoMo is based in Tokyo and can be found online at http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/. KPN, in the Hague, the Netherlands, can be reached at +31-70-343-3379, or at http://www.kpn.com/. Hutchison Whampoa, in Hong Kong, is online at http://www.hutchison-whampoa.com/. TIW, in Montreal, is on the Internet at http://www.tiw.ca/.

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