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O2 Merger Will Make Our Business Stronger, Insists Three CFO

Martin Kennedy

Mergers & Acquisitions

| August 25th 2015

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O2 Merger Will Make Our Business Stronger, Insists Three CFO

The planned merger between two of the largest telecoms service providers in the UK will be good for both businesses and their customers, according to Richard Woodward, chief financial officer (CFO) of Three, which is soon set to merge with O2.

Three’s parent company Hutchinson Whampoa is expecting to acquire O2 from its owner Telefonica in the coming months but some concerns have been raised about the potential implications for competition within the British telecoms market.

Woodward though has insisted that the combined qualities and market reach of Three and O2 will create a business that is “significantly stronger” than either operation individually and one that will not be harmful to competition.

“For us, our immediate focus will be to take the best of both businesses,” he told TechWeek Europe, with plans in place to expand on Three’s mobile network capacity and to increase delivery speeds in the process.

The merged O2 and Three business is set to become the largest supplier of telecoms services in the UK in terms of customer numbers but the European Commission still needs to give the deal the go-ahead before it can be completed.

The commission is investigating whether the merger might indeed have a negative impact on completion in the UK’s telecoms market, with its official view on the matter expected to be delivered at some point in the second half of 2015.

On a standalone basis for now, Three was able to add close to 400,000 new customers to its user base in the UK during the first half of this year, with a majority now using 4G mobile services.

The growth in customer numbers is attributed by Woodward to strong network performance and the appeal of special deals such as that which saw Three offer to restrict roaming charges in 18 different countries.

Overall revenues across the business grew by 10 per cent during the first six months of 2015 to reach £1.071 billion.
“Our performance in the first half has been built on the strength of our network and the plans and benefits we provide,” Three’s CFO said in a statement.

“We passionately believe that financial success starts and ends with providing the best possible customer experience and fixing industry issues like unfair roaming charges.”

Martin Kennedy

About the author

Martin Kennedy

Director

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Martin has nearly 20 years’ corporate finance experience specialising in advising owner managed businesses. Martin has considerable experience advising on business sales as well as management buy-outs and acquisitions across a wide range of sectors and deal sizes.

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