Vodafone Australia and TPG announce plans for $15bn merger | Leadership

TPG and Vodafone announce merger

TPG and Vodafone Australia to merge into AU$15b telco named TPG

Vodafone said the tie-up of Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG Telecom will create a "more powerful challenger to Telstra and Optus in Australia".

The merged company will have about 20% of Australia's mobile phone market and 22% of the fixed line market.

Vodafone said the merged company "will be a more powerful challenger to Telstra and Optus", with an integrated fixed and mobile offering.

The merger is expected to complete sometime next year, with TPG shareholders owning 49.9 percent of the merged group and Vodafone shareholders owning the remaining 50.1 percent.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia is the nation's third-biggest versatile administrator which is mutually possessed by Vodafone Group and Hutchinson Telecommunications Australia.

At 0200 AEST on Thursday, Hutchison shares had jumped 48 percent taking them to 0.18 Australian dollars (0.13 US dollars) per share, while TPG bounced 15.04 percent to 9.06 Australian dollars (6.60 USA dollars) per share. David Teoh, who is now the CEO and chairman of TPG, will become the new group's chairman.

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In an effort to more effectively challenge telecoms giants Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) and Optus, the two companies confirmed to the ASX they plan an all-scrip, merger-of-equals, following discussions last week. TPG Chairman David Teoh will keep the role in the new company, while Iñaki Berroeta, chief executive of Vodafone Hutchison Australia, will be managing director and CEO. Shares in Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (a shareholder in Vodafone Australia), leapt to 18 cents, up 445 on the day and 240% in the month so far.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said it will be commencing a public review of the proposed merger to identify any competition concerns.

Major shareholders of Vodafone Australia and TPG, including Mr Teoh, have entered a 24-month voluntary escrow arrangement as a show of their commitment to the merger.

"The combination of our two highly complementary businesses and talented employees will create a more sustainable company, with enhanced capacity to invest in new technology and innovation", he said.

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.

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