BRUSSELS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are set to open a lengthy investigation into Hutchison Whampoa’s bid for Telefonica’s Irish unit unless Hutchison offers concessions to sooth competition concerns, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, controlled by Asia’s richest man Li Ka Shing, announced the 780-million-euro ($1.07 billion) offer for Telefonica’s 02 Ireland unit in June, its latest deal to build up a presence in Europe.
The European Commission, which is now taking a preliminary look into the deal, expressed concerns about the deal to Hutchison officials at a meeting on Tuesday, the sources said.
“Concerns were expressed at the state of play meeting,” one of the people said.
Hutchison has until Nov. 6 to offer concessions. Failure to do so will trigger an in-depth investigation that could take up to five months.
$1 = 0.7260 euros Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Barbara Lewis