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Vodafone bets on $8 billion merger to boost Australia business

01 September 2018

The companies announced the merger to the ASX this morning, which if allowed to proceed would create a telco that services 22% of the fixed line market and 20% of mobile phones in Australia.

"The merger will create a more effective challenger to (leading Australian telecoms) Telstra and Optus", TPG said, estimating that the resulting entity will be worth 11 billion USA dollars when the deal is finalized next year.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief executive Iñaki Berroeta, said, "The Australian telecommunications market is characterised by the presence of Telstra and Optus".

The merged company - to be called TPG Telecom Limited - will have a combined value of about $15 billion (including debt) and annual revenue of more than 6 billion.

Although the pair have stated there would no notable changes to either of the brands after the merger, the opportunity to cross-sell Vodafone's mobile and TPG's broadband offering could mount a serious challenge to the domination of Telstra and Optus who control more than 80% of the mobile market as it stands.

Teoh was non-committal over whether it would appear, and at what price, or when, but did suggest that bundling offers to existing TPG customers could, potentially, see a better deal than the $9.99 offer emerge.

Under the deal, TPG shareholders will own 49.9% of the group, with Vodafone Australia shareholders will have 50.1%.

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Vodafone (LON:VOD) has today announced plans that itself and its partner company, Vodafone Hutchison Australia will merge with TPG Telecom.

Shares were trading 2% lower after the announcement. The Board of TPG also indicated to distribute a fully franked cash special dividend to TPG shareholders prior to completion of the merger.

Prior to the merger, TPG will spin off its Singapore mobile business into a separate company.

"There are no changes now planned to any of the existing brands of either TPG or VHA".

Illustrating the potential benefits of the merger is an agreement to form a joint venture, regardless of whether the merger is implemented, to bid for 5G spectrum in the auction of 3.6 GHz spectrum scheduled for November and to jointly acquire spectrum in future. Leverage does not include the 700 MHz spectrum payments due in January 2020 of A$80m and A$352m for VHA and TPG respectively, nor any working capital adjustments that may be required.

"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 added.

Vodafone bets on $8 billion merger to boost Australia business