Vodafone Is In $11bn Australian Merger

RMSotheby’s  Simon Clay

RMSotheby’s Simon Clay

The Australian share market has already seen positive change on Thursday, with S&P/ASX200 indices up 0.2% boosted by telecom stocks.

Vodafone and Hutchison will own will hold 50.1 per cent of TPG "Telecom Limited" and TPG will own 49.9 per cent.

Before the merger proceeds it will have to face reviews by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as well as the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Combined with Vodafone's improving mobile offer - it has 19% of the market - TPG's broadband could help attract customers disaffected with Telstra and Optus.

Separately, TPG said it planned to spin off to its shareholders its mobile business in Singapore, with further details to be provided at a later date.

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Vodafone has promised that its popular $5/day global roaming deal will remain after the proposed merger with broadband telco TPG.

Teoh said the merger was "an exciting step-change in TPG's evolution" that would allow the pair to "be a more formidable competitor against Telstra and Optus".

Shares in TPG were up $1.28, or 16.2 per cent to $9.16 at 11.55am, while shares in Hutchison Telecom Australia - as Vodafone Australia is known - surged 45.6 per cent to 18.2¢ each.

TPG is now Australia's third largest telco provider, while Vodafone Hutchinson Australia sits in fourth place.

"If the merger is approved, it will create even more opportunities for us as a combined entity to drive value for Australian consumers".

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In parallel to the merger agreement, TPG and VHA have signed a separate joint venture agreement in order to participate together in the upcoming spectrum auction and manage their spectrum licences.

"The blend of the two organizations will make an association with the fundamental scale, broadness and money related quality for the future", Vodafone Hutchison Australia's CEO Inaki Berroeta said in an announcement.

TPG CEO David Teoh will become the Chairman of the merged group, while VHA CEO Iñaki Berroeta will become managing director and CEO.

The merger will create a much stronger integrated competitor for Telstra and Optus but will also mean the long-standing status quo of three mobile competitors, which had been threatened by TPG's mobile network build, will be preserved and the threat of disruptive infrastructure overcapacity dispelled.

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