Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison terminates telecom venture with Swedish private equity

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CK Hutchison Holdings, a key player in Hong Kong’s business landscape and the flagship company of billionaire Li Ka-shing, has announced the termination of its plan to create a new Italian telecoms company with Swedish private equity firm EQT Infrastructure. This decision, made 10 months after the initial announcement, marks a significant shift in the company’s strategic direction.

The conglomerate had initially planned to transfer its network equipment and wholesale mobile and fixed communications services business from its Italian mobile business Wind Tre to EQT Infrastructure. However, CK Hutchison revealed in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange that the deal fell through due to certain conditions precedent to closing not being satisfied.

The partnership, announced in May last year, was aimed at establishing a new entity where EQT would hold a 60% stake. This entity would encompass Wind Tre’s network infrastructure, including radio antennas, base stations, and associated contracts, with an enterprise value of €3.4 billion (US$3.7 billion).

EQT Infrastructure also confirmed the termination of the deal but expressed its willingness to explore other infrastructure transactions, potentially including collaborations with CK Hutchison in the future.

This development comes as CK Hutchison continues to navigate the evolving telecom landscape. In 2020, the company agreed to sell its European wireless tower business to Spain’s Cellnex Telecom for €10 billion. In a separate move in 2021, CK Hutchison merged its Indonesian wireless telecommunications business with Qatar’s Ooredoo, forming Indonesia’s second-largest mobile carrier.

The termination of the deal with EQT Infrastructure underscores CK Hutchison’s strategic flexibility and its commitment to exploring opportunities that align with its long-term growth objectives.

(Source: Bloomberg | SCMP | Total Telecom | BNN)

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