BT in early talks to buy back O2

BT has confirmed that it is in talks with Telefónica to buy back O2.

The UK incumbent said it is in “highly preliminary” talks to make a return to the mobile market, after it sold O2 nearly a decade ago to Telefónica for £17.7 billion.

According to reports in Spain, the move for O2 could see Telefónica receive a 20% stake in BT as a part of a strategic alliance between the two operators.

Telefónica has previously stated that O2 is core to its business, but has not ruled out asset sales in order to reduce debt.

Reuters reports that BT has also entered preliminary talks with Orange and Deutsche Telekom regarding the sale of EE.

BT had already confirmed that it would be re-entering the consumer mobile market next year, after striking a wholesale deal with EE.

A potential move for EE or O2 – a move for both would be blocked by UK regulators – would enable BT to push ahead with plans to offer “quad-play” services, comprising broadband, fixed-line, mobile and pay-TV services.