Hutchison 3G Austria, a subsidiary of Hong Kong business mogul Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., has agreed to buy Orange Austria for €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion), the parties announced Friday.
The deal is expected to be completed by the middle of 2012, following regulatory approval from the Austrian government.
The deal will give the new entity a 22 percent share of the mobile telephone market with more than 2.8 million customers and more than €700 million ($920 million) in combined revenue for 2011, 3 Austria predicts. The dominant players in the Austrian wireless market currently are Telekom Austria and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile Austria.
Orange Austria's customers will benefit from Hutchison 3G Austria's superior high-speed data network coverage and quality, while all of the company's customers will benefit from superior coverage, quality, innovation and service through the improved spectrum position, retail footprint and efficiencies that the combined businesses will generate, Hutchison said in a statement.
Orange Austria is 65 percent owned by Mid Europa Partners and 35 percent owned by France Telecom SA.
Li is the chairman of Hutchison and Cheung Kong Holdings, which both own a variety of businesses in different industries. Li is the 11th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of approximately $22 billion, according to Forbes.
Shares of Hutchison closed Friday up 3.38 percent to HK 76.45 ($9.86). The company trades of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.