October 23, 2013 / 2:16 PM / 4 years ago

EU likely to open probe into Hutchison, Telefonica deal -sources

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are set to open a lengthy investigation into Hutchison Whampoa’s 0013.HK bid for Telefonica’s Irish unit unless Hutchison offers concessions to sooth competition concerns, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Santiago Fernandez Valbuena, President of Telefonica Latin America, poses as he speaks with journalists at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit 2013 in Sao Paulo May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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 November 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

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