The EU's approval is contingent on Hutchison selling up to a 30% stake in the merged mobile unit to two MVNOs. Sources tell Reuters Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.2%) is in talks with Hutchison for an Irish MVNO deal.
Hutchison will also have divest 5 blocks of spectrum, and continue a network-sharing deal with rival eircom.
The EU's approval could be a sign regulators are willing to approve Telefonica's $12B deal to buy KPN's (KKPNY) E-Plus German unit. Telefonica has already offered concessions to placate worried regulators and MVNOs; a ruling is expected by June 23.