BT Group

BT in discussions to buy O2 and EE

BT is in discussions to buy O2, Britain’s second-largest mobile network, which it originally spun off in 2001 and is now owned by Spain’s Telefonica.

The telecoms giant said it had also been approached by the shareholders of another British operator, believed to be EE, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom and Orange.

BT confirmed the talks following a report in the Spanish press (El Confidencial ) that said Telefonica could end up with a 20pc stake in BT in exchange for O2. That would value the deal at roughly £10bn.

El Confidencial said.

“According to various sources, the talks between Telefonica and British Telecom are advanced, although no final deal has been reached”,

BT confirmed:

“We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements. We remain confident of delivering on these plans and have also been exploring ways of accelerating them, including assessing the merits of an acquisition of a mobile network operator in the UK.

“We have received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, of which one is O2, about a possible transaction in which BT would acquire their UK mobile business. All discussions are at a highly preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur.

“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

BT is already preparing to re-enter the UK mobile market next year with its own consumer network, based on a wholesale deal with EE.