Vodafone Australia and TPG announce $15bn merger

TPG and Vodafone announce merger

Shares in Hutchison Telecommunications Australia surged 44%.

The new entity will assume TPG's name and will be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, with TPG shareholders holding 49.9 percent and Vodafone owning the remainder.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is the nation's third largest mobile operator with a customer base of around 6 million subscribers.

The companies have confirmed to the ASX they plan an all-scrip merger of equals, with the deal expected to complete next year subject to approval from regulators including the Foreign Investment Review Board and competition watchdog. Stocks in TPG Telecom hopped 18%.

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TPG is also in the process of building a mobile phone network, but with the Vodafone network poised to join TPG's business, analysts are asking does the merged company need this new network?

Teoh was non-committal over whether it would appear, and at what price, or when, but did suggest that bundling offers to existing TPG customers could, potentially, see a better deal than the $9.99 offer emerge.

As part of the agreement, TPG's Singapore operations will be separated and will enter into a commercial and transitional services arrangement with the merged company in relation to certain services upon completion.

TPG chairman and CEO, David Teoh said shareholders and Australian consumers will benefit the most from the merger. David Teoh, who is now the CEO and chairman of TPG, will become the new group's chairman.

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Vodafone CEO Iñaki Berroeta, who will take on the role of managing director in the new company, said the merger will result in stronger competition and greater choice in the fixed broadband and mobile space.

Now trading at 169.08p, down 2.23 per cent as of BST 11.12, Vodafone PLC (LON:VOD), like many other companies on the Index, is struggling to gain momentum as GBP strength soars. "With this merger, we will be a more formidable competitor against Telstra and Optus".

Today's announcement comes just ahead of the deadline - tomorrow at 5pm - to lodge applications to participate in the government's auction of 3.6GHz spectrum, which is one of the key bands for early 5G services.

"The equal terms of the combination preserves the competitive strengths of the two businesses, meaning a sustainable long-term fixed/mobile competitor to Telstra and Optus".

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