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And then there were 3…Vodafone Hutchison venture

And then there were 3…Vodafone Hutchison venture

Vodafone and Hutchison are awaiting ACCC and regulator sign-off on a proposed joint venture that, if approved, will make them a force to be reckoned with in the Australian mobile phone market. Co

rrs Chambers Westgarth is the principal legal adviser to Vodafone Group Plc on the proposed joint venture with Hutchison Whampoa (Hutchison).

Sydney-based partners Byron Koster, James North and James Rozsa co-led the Corrs team, with assistance from senior associates Barbara Keane, Steve Johns and David Moore.

Under the proposed agreement, Vodafone and Hutchison will have an equal ownership of 50 per cent each in the joint venture which will be renamed VHA Pty Limited (“VHA”). VHA will market its products and services under the Vodafone brand, but will retain exclusive rights to use the 3 brand in Australia. To equalise the value difference between the respective businesses, Vodafone will receive a deferred payment of $500 million from VHA.

Vodafone will receive an annual brand licensing fee from VHA equivalent to 1 per cent of service revenues.

The merger will leave just three major players to battle it out in the mobile phone market. The transaction is expected to close by mid 2009, subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission clearance, Foreign Investment Re­view Board approval and Hutchison shareholders’ approval.

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