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KPN flogs 3G UK share to Hutch

Row over, no court battle

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Two major shareholders in third generation mobilephoneco Hutchison 3G UK have settled their differences ahead of a potentially damaging high court battle.

Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa has agreed to buy KPN Mobile's 15 per cent stake in Hutchison 3G UK for £90 million.

The companies were to begin action in the High Court today in shareholder dispute over additional funding of Hutchison 3G UK. A feud erupted after Hutch got the hump when KPN refused to cough up a £150 million loan to help fund the UK operation.

But a last minute deal means that both companies have been able to avoid a potentially costly court battle.

Following this settlement, KPN Mobile has received £60 million. A further £30 million will be paid over the next three years.

In a statement the companies said they were "happy to put this dispute behind them".

Canning Fok, group MD of Hutchison Whampoa Limited, added that he saw the purchase as an "excellent move cementing increased interests in Hutchison 3G UK for the group". ®

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