NTT DoComo is offloading its 20 per cent share of 3 UK to majority owner Hutchison Wampoa for £120m ($218m).
Hutchison is buying the stake with shares in Hutchison Telecommunications International, its Hong Kong mobile telecoms operator. But first it has to list HTIL - failure to do so means that DoCoMo can claim cash.
Hutchison will regret losing DoCoMo - the company has been selling off what it now dubs non-core assets - to fund its 3G telco services. A cash-rich partner such as DoComo, Japan's biggest mobile operator, would have been useful. Now it also has to pay back £200m lent it by DoCoMo last year.
However, it did not help its cause: DoCoMo has a fetishistic attachment to its i-mode data service and it was irked by 3's refusal to adopt i-mode as a content platform. ®