March 24, 2015 / 6:29 PM / 3 years ago

Telefonica finalizes $15 billion sale of UK unit to Hutchison

A woman speaks on her mobile telephone outside an O2 shop in Loughborough, central England January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - Spain’s Telefonica (TEF.MC) said it had finalised a deal to sell its British mobile business O2 to Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa 0013.HK for 10.25 billion pounds ($15.2 billion), confirming details announced earlier this year.

Telefonica and Hutchison entered exclusive negotiations over O2 on Jan. 23. The Spanish operator said on Tuesday that a definitive agreement had now been reached after completion of due diligence on the British unit.

The sale will hasten the consolidation of Britain’s telecoms industry. Hutchison already operates the Three Mobile network in Britain, and buying second-ranked O2, which has about 22 million subscribers, will make it the top mobile operator in the country.

Completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approval, Telefonica said, adding that should take place by June 30, with a possible extension of this timeline to Sept. 30.

($1 = 0.6729 pounds)

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Pravin Char

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