Li Ka Shing Sneaks Back Into The Wireless Game

Two months after selling out, the tycoon makes a play in Britain

A few months ago, it looked as though Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and his conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., had exited Europe's telecom market for good. After all, Hutchison sold its stake in Orange, the British phone operation it built into a valuable mobile player, to Germany's Mannesmann and pocketed a $22 billion profit when Vodafone Airtouch then took over Mannesmann in February. That's more than enough to claim an early success in one of the most competitive sectors in the world and leave the battle to build infrastructure to others.

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