CK Hutchison Cuts 280 Jobs at U.K. Carrier Three

(Bloomberg) — CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. is cutting about 280 jobs at British phone company Three under new Chief Executive Officer Robert Finnegan.



a group of people walking on a sidewalk: Pedestrians walk past an O2 mobile phone store, operated by Telefonica SA, left, and a Three mobile phone store, operated by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., in Basildon, U.K., on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa agreed to acquire Telefonica's O2 unit, creating Britain's biggest wireless provider by customers and marking a milestone in the billionaire's efforts to remake the Hong Kong conglomerate.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
Pedestrians walk past an O2 mobile phone store, operated by Telefonica SA, left, and a Three mobile phone store, operated by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., in Basildon, U.K., on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa agreed to acquire Telefonica’s O2 unit, creating Britain’s biggest wireless provider by customers and marking a milestone in the billionaire’s efforts to remake the Hong Kong conglomerate.

The decision mainly affects head office staff in the U.K. and represents a roughly 7% reduction to the company’s 4,300 staff, a spokeswoman for Three said in response to questions.

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“As part of our ongoing transformation, we are consulting on changes to make our business the right size to serve our customers’ needs and drive greater alignment between the U.K. and Ireland,” she said.

“We are seeking to minimize redundancies wherever possible through not back-filling vacancies and the removal of contractors’ roles,” she added. “We recognize this is an unsettling time and are fully supporting our staff through it.”

Finnegan took the reins of Three U.K. in March and continues to head up its sister wireless company in Ireland, which he has run since 2005. Owner CK Hutchison said in its first-half results in August it had seen “meaningful improvements” in the U.K. from senior management changes.

In August, Finnegan told Bloomberg the British mobile market would benefit from consolidation. The Hong Kong-based conglomerate successfully merged Ireland’s Three with Telefonica SA’s Irish carrier O2 but a similar transaction in the U.K. was vetoed by regulators in 2016. However, the EU’s General Court overturned that decision in May.

However, Three might have to look elsewhere for partners, since Telefonica struck a deal in May to combine U.K. carrier O2 with Liberty Global Plc’s U.K. cable company Virgin Media.

(Updates with context. Earlier version of story corrected spokeswoman quote in third paragraph.)

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