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Hutchison in Talks to Buy O2 in U.K. for Up to $15 Billion

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Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. started exclusive talks to buy O2, Telefonica SA’s U.K. wireless carrier, for as much as 10.25 billion pounds ($15 billion) in the biggest overseas purchase by the billionaire.

The owner of the Three mobile-phone network in the U.K. will pay an initial sum of 9.25 billion pounds in cash, Hutchison said Friday. It may pay as much as 1 billion pounds extra after the completion of the deal, which will create Britain’s biggest wireless provider by number of subscribers.