Hong Kong Telecom

Li Ka-shing, Victor LiVincent Yu—AP Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, right, and his son Victor Li, react during a press conference in Hong Kong Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.

Acquiring O2 may allow a merger with Li's Three mobile network

Taking over O2, currently owned by Spain’s Telefonica, would allow Li, 86, to merge the company with Three mobile network, which is currently owned by his firm Hutchison Whampoa. That would create Britain’s largest mobile telecommunications group, reports the BBC.

Hutchison shares increased by 4% after reports of a potential deal emerged, but negotiations with Telefonica are expected to take weeks. The purchase may also be hampered if European industry regulators perceive the move infringes on competition protocols.

In a bid to restructure his business empire, which spans everything from telecommunications to ports, Li, who until he was overtaken by Alibaba boss Jack Ma this year was the richest man in Asia, has spent nearly $30 billion this year acquiring foreign assets to diversify his Hong Kong holdings.

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